ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A bat with rabies bit someone at a local Walmart this week.
Now, health officials want to make sure no one else was exposed.
The New Mexico Department of Health said a woman went into the Walmart at Coors and Alameda NW near Cottonwood Mall around 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning on her motorized wheelchair. Hanging from the basket as she rode through the aisles was a bat.
Walmart said when the woman was buying her items at the counter, workers noticed it. One of them tried to help.
“It was another person there who thought they were good at handling bats and picked it up, took it outside and unfortunately was bit when they did that,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, state public health veterinarian.
Dr. Ettestad said the bat tested positive for rabies.
The Walmart worker is now getting a series of vaccinations for protection against the disease.
“If she didn’t get the shots and it went on to become rabies, it’s almost 100 percent fatal,” Dr. Ettestad said.
Walmart called animal control and police, but the woman in the wheelchair left and health officials are looking for her to make sure she wasn’t exposed to rabies.
“There is only concern if you touched or handled the animal. Then, we want to talk to you,” Dr. Ettestad said.
Walmart would not show KRQE the surveillance video, but a spokesman said it confirms that the bat was already on the woman’s wheelchair before the woman entered the store.