Pennsylvania man attacked by rabid bat

A man in Luzerne County is getting treatment at his home after a bat that bit him tested positive for rabies.

Randy Haines said he heard his dog barking at night at his home in Larksville, so he went outside to see what was going one. He wasn’t prepared for what happened next.

“It wrapped around my leg within a split second, quicker than a rattlesnake,” Haines recalled.

Eleven nights ago, Haines’ dog Rocko was in the back yard and started barking.

“He has different barks for different things, and it was his nervous bark, and I knew something was going on,” Haines said.

While Rocko escaped the attacking bat, Haines wasn’t so lucky.

“Its wings had big spikes on it, and his feet have big claws, and he dug in and took chunks out of my leg like boom, boom, boom,” Haines added.

Once he realized he had been bitten, he immediately called the Pennsylvania Game Commission, who took the bat and sent it to the Harrisburg lab. Once those lab tests came back positive for rabies, Haines knew he needed to go to the hospital.

“Once I heard that thing was rabid, you don’t want to die from rabies. It’s a vicious death.”

Since the bat attack, Haines has had three sets of vaccines to keep the rabies virus from making him sick.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission identified the bat to Haines as a hoary bat–one not commonly found in Pennsylvania. The bats are known to travel on their own, but Haines hopes his story will make people aware rabies can be found in our area.

“It happened to me. I don’t know why, but I consider it a blessing because I’m able to pass the word on. I’m healed. I only have one more round of shots to go and I’m done.”

The Pennsylvania Game Commission recommends if you believe you were bitten by an animal with rabies, seek medical attention immediately.

Haines says local police and Game Commission officers responded quickly and made sure he got help.

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