Bat at Pacers game could lead to rabies exposure, health officals say

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana health officials say people who had contact with a bat last week during an Indiana Pacers game have possibly been exposed to rabies.

The Indiana State Department of Health says anyone who may have touched the bat with bare skin when it flew around at the Pacers game Thursday in Indianapolis is urged to contact the department or a health care provider about receiving rabies vaccinations. The game was against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The department says the rabies status of the bat, which is no longer inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse, is unknown.

Health officials say a person is considered potentially exposed to rabies only if direct contact occurs between a bat and the person’s bare skin. So far there have been no reports of anyone having direct contact with the bat.

Play stopped with 6:39 left in the first quarter with the Pacers trailing the Clippers 17-16 as the bat swooped down during Thursday’s game. Play resumed after about 4 minutes — without catching the invader.

The bat returned to court level midway through the third quarter and the Pacers leading 85-61 but soon headed toward the ceiling.

One week earlier in San Antonio, a Spurs game against the Brooklyn Nets was disrupted for nearly three minutes in the first quarter at AT&T Center when three bats began swooping around the court. Arena staff did its best to catch them, but play was resumed when the bats flew back to the rafters.

In the Spurs next home against the New Orleans Pelicans, their mascot, The Coyote, was patrolling with a net when a bat appeared early in the first quarter. The mascot finally got the bat in his net with a diving attempt before arena staff eventually  removed it with a towel.

Contributing: The Indianapolis Star and USA TODAY Sports


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