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Bat Found Inside Dorm Prompts Facilities Policy Change


By Dave Lubach Educational Facilities
bat

Thankfully, we don’t hear many stories about bats bothering occupants in institutional and commercial facilities. But when they do come around, their presence needs to be treated as a potential life-and-death matter. 

The facilities team at Boston College learned a little about this last month, when a group of young women were confronted by one in their dorm while they were sleeping, according to a BC student news website

One of the women woke to a bat brushing against her, resulting in quite the commotion. 

The women left their suite and waited in the hallway as the Boston College Police Department and the school’s facilities management team responded. Facilities captured the bat 20 minutes later. 

The incident’s aftermath is a situation that managers definitely want to ponder at their facilities.  

The roommates said the bat should be tested for rabies because it touched one of the women, and the facilities team placed the bat in a bucket to take to the police department. The school advised the women involved to get rabies tests, as untreated cases are almost always fatal. 

Meanwhile, before testing the bat for rabies, facilities released it back into the wild, as per its wildlife policy. 

Boston College is now changing that policy as a result of this incident, requiring that facilities contact animal services following any similar incidents. 

The school’s director of global public health says any bats found inside a room should be presumed to be infected with rabies. 

“It’s standard protocol with a potential rabies contact to capture the bat and get it into the hands of public health authorities,” says Philip Landrigan. “It doesn’t always happen for practical reasons, but that’s the ideal protocol.” 

What protocols do your facilities have for similar situations? It might be a good time to review and amend policies if appropriate. 

Dave Lubach is managing editor, Facility Market. 

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