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JBSA-Lackland Trainees Vaccinated For Rabies

Lackland Air Force Base
Eileen Pace
TPR News
Sign entering Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, where a handful of bats were removed from a basic training dorm last week

Update (1/22 1045 a.m.): The following statement was released this morning in regard to the bat that was caught and tested for rabies:

"The one Mexican Free Tailed bat which was caught and retained by JBSA officials on Friday has tested negative for rabies. The result came back from a lab at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston late yesterday afternoon. Of course, that's one of several bats observed in the basic training dormitory building, so we can't say conclusively that they were all negative.  That's why we continue immunizing 205 trainees who may have been exposed to those bats."

Original Post (1/21 9:27 a.m.): About 200 basic trainees at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland are being inoculated against rabies after bats were found in a dorm last week. Bats have been sighted in six areas of a dorm that houses more than 300 basic trainees from the 331st Training Squadron. Air Force officials captured one of the bats to test for rabies.

Andy Walker with Bat Conservation International said the 15 million bats from the Bracken Bat Cave north of San Antonio have already migrated to Mexico. He said it is unusual to find Mexican freetails in San Antonio at this time of the year, but not impossible.

The freetail bats in East Texas are believed to not migrate to Mexico. There’s also the possibility that freetails from other states are coming and passing through Texas, and they could be late migrants.

The Air Force said no evidence of nesting was discovered and personnel are sealing off exterior accesses. 

Although none of the trainees suffered bites, the Air Force has implemented conservative protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is immunizing those trainees who may be at risk.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.