NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Comal County health officials were searching for two teenagers who were seen playing with a sick bat that tested positive for rabies.
The boys were using the bat instead of a bean bag in a game of hacky sack (search), in which players try to keep a bean bag off the ground by kicking it to each other, Comal County Health Department (search) nurse Karon Preiss said.
The teenagers ran away after a nurse saw them, told them to stop and called Animal Control officers. The bat tested positive for rabies at the Texas Department of Health laboratory.
It was not known if the boys touched the bat with their bare hands or if they were bitten or scratched, the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday.
The rabies (search) virus affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals and can be transmitted through the saliva of infected animals.
Rabies can be prevented with a vaccine after initial exposure, but health officials can do little for victims once symptoms set in.
The earliest symptoms often are tingling or numbness in the limb or area where there was a bite, followed by a lack of coordination, agitation, headache, hallucinations and seizures. Eventually, the patient goes into a coma and dies.