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41 West High, 7 Layton High students receiving rabies vaccine after bat infestations

By Liesl Nielsen, | Posted - Sep 28th, 2017 @ 3:01pm

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LAYTON — Forty-one students from West High and seven students from Layton High were recommended to receive rabies vaccines Thursday after bats infested both schools during the previous week, according to Davis School District spokesperson Chris Williams and the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Layton High sent two students to the hospital Thursday and are currently working to contact five other students to receive a rabies vaccine after bats infested the school's auditorium earlier in the week, according to Williams.

The school has closed down the auditorium and canceled events, but seven students allegedly touched either live or dead bats and will be sent to McKay Dee hospital to receive a vaccine, Williams said.

Professionals have removed about 1,200 bats from Layton High over a three-day period, but a large number of bats still remain. It will take several days, maybe more than a week, to get rid of all the bats, according to Williams.

"We've had bats before but not to this degree," he said.

Bats migrate south for the winter, and these bats found a temporary home in the warm auditorium, said Melanie Harpster of Animal Removal and Prevention. She suggests finding the bats' entry and exit points, then putting in a "bat valve" that will allow the bats to fly out but not back in.

Layton High's bat infestation comes just a week after 200 bats were found in West High School. The school has now found that 41 students and staff members were exposed to the bats and have asked them to receive the rabies vaccine.

Many believe the bats were able to enter the school through an open window, said Jason Olsen, spokesperson for the Salt Lake City School District.

Students and staff affected by the bats will receive a series of five shots called rabies postexposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Contributing: Jed Boal and Mike Anderson

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