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Dead Bat Found in Salad May Be Rabies Risk

By Leah Groth ; Updated March 16, 2018

As organic produce is treated with little to no pesticides, it isn’t that uncommon to find a bug or two lingering around in your lettuce. But what would you do if you were chomping down on your arugula and bit into a potentially rabies-infested bat? Over the weekend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that this actually happened to two salad consumers — and if you have any organic salad mixes at home in your refrigerator you might want to read on.

According to a statement released by the CDC, two people in Florida were eating salad from a Fresh Express Organic Marketside Spring Mix container when they discovered a dead bat. While both people who ate the salad appear to be in good health, the agency recommended rabies treatment for them as a precaution. “The deteriorated condition of the bat did not allow for CDC to definitively rule out whether this bat had rabies,” the CDC explained.

According to the CDC, bats are common transmitters of rabies to human hosts, but the disease is more commonly spread through bites than by consuming an animal who carries it. Other common carriers include raccoons, skunks and wild dogs and coyotes. Possible initial symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache and increasing pain, tingling and burning at the bite site. These symptoms will lead to either paralytic or furious rabies — both fatal. It is difficult to diagnose rabies until the onset of symptoms, and by that time it is generally too late, so it’s better to be precautionary and start treatment immediately after possible exposure.

Fresh Express has pulled that specific salad mix from Walmart stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, where it is exclusively sold. The company also issued a recall. Only products with the code G089B19 and best-if-used-by date of April 14, 2017, and UPC code 6 8113132897 5 are affected.

While it’s not likely a decomposing bat will end up in your container of organic salad mix, this story is a great reminder to always rinse your produce before eating.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever found insects or other animals in your organic produce? How would you feel if you did? Do you have any experience with rabies exposure?

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