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Cedar Rapids girl scout troop is among those getting rabies shots after possible exposure at Nebraska zoo

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:50 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A group of Cedar Rapids girl scouts and their parents is now getting rabies shots this week after a possible exposure at a zoo in Nebraska. It comes from more than 200 people who stayed overnight at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha about 2 weeks ago.

The zoo found seven wild bats in the aquarium. One tested positive for rabies. Now families are rushing to get shots for rabies before it’s too late.

Mandi Bitterman and her ten-year-old daughter, Lily, didn’t think a road trip of adventure would end up at a Cedar Rapids hospital to get rabies shots. Mandi will get seven shots while Lily will get four, after Linn County Public Health called and told them to get the shots.

“I didn’t really think much about it because I was like oh well, I didn’t see a bat,” said Lily. “It’s probably not that big of a deal, but then I heard what it could possibly lead to, then I started getting a little scared.”

“It wasn’t scary at first until we learned exactly what it entails,” said Mandi. “That you may not know that you’ve been bit, and if you are, you can die.”

The scouts and their parents will get the shots at UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Amy Truong with the hospitals said people should get rabies shots right away if they may have been exposed. She calls the disease as deadly as it is preventable.

“If you were to have rabies develop, the prognosis for it is extremely poor,” she said. “The fatality rate is really high. The initial symptoms is really vague, they’re kind of flu like symptoms.”

This won’t stop Mandy and Lily from taking another trip to the zoo.

“I’m still excited,” said Lily. “I would probably do it again still.”

The zoo gave all the campers refunds, and is covering the costs of the shots.

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