Six weeks ago, Pagosa local Jean Pionke opened her back door to let in a breeze. Instead she was met with a bat bite to the neck.
The bat entered Pionke’s home as she opened the door, landing on her neck, where she suffered the bite.
Pionke, luckily, was aware of the protocol for rabies since she works for a veterinarian, and immediately launched into action.
She washed the bite as her husband donned two pairs of gloves and a heavy sweatshirt. He caught the bat in a plastic container in order to ship it off for rabies testing through the San Juan Basin Health Department.
According to Pionke, the bat’s behavior was abnormal in the way it was flying and the way it eventually fell onto a dog bed on the floor, which indicated rabies might be a concern.
“Any kind of abnormal behavior like that is a red flag,” Pionke said.
The bat was sent for rabies testing in Denver, and although Pionke was advised to wait for the results before seeking treatment, she did not want to take her chances.
Pionke sought treatment at the Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC), where she was given a series of vaccines and a shot of immune globulin.
“The hospital has been really good about making sure they are on the ball because it is not something that happens every day,” Pionke said.