Gilbert woman warns about rabid bats after one bit her in the back

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Erika Irwin) (Source: Erika Irwin)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: Erika Irwin) (Source: Erika Irwin)
(Source: Erika Irwin) (Source: Erika Irwin)
GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A rabid bat bit a Valley woman and she didn’t even know it.

Erika Irwin is one of the three recent rabid bat cases that prompted Maricopa County health officials to issue a rabies warning Thursday.

She was talking with her husband outside in Gilbert in mid-August when she felt something brush her back.

[RELATED: Maricopa County public health officials see spike in rabies cases]

“We didn’t see anything. We did a swivel this way and that way,” she said.

Five minutes later, she discovered a bat was stuck to her shirt. She tried to swipe it off of her.

"It stuck to my hand so I actually had to fling it off of me," she explained.

[RELATED: County health officials warn of increase in rabies cases in animals]

"I don’t know if I got caught by the fang, by the face, by the weird talon things. It’s kind of creepy," she said. 

Health officials said Irwin's case is rare and that “bats don’t attack people."

However, they want people to make sure they don't touch wildlife and make sure their pets are up-to-date with their rabies vaccines. 

Tonight, she’s sharing her story in hopes it gets everyone to take the county’s warning seriously.

Irwin can laugh about it now, but said it was a scary experience.

Rabies targets the central nervous system and is deadly.

"We were literally thinking he (my husband) could be planning a funeral," she said. "I’m very thankful and I pray to God every day that I’m alive." 

Irwin plans to celebrate by wearing a bat costume for Halloween and getting a tattoo of a bat in the spot where it bit her.

"It was a very unique, very interesting situation, not something you hear about every day," said Irwin. 

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • VIDEO: National Adoption Day in Phoenix

    VIDEO: National Adoption Day in Phoenix

    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    Children found their new homes today at National Adoption Day in Phoenix. 

    More >

    Children found their new homes today at National Adoption Day in Phoenix. 

    More >
  • California activists want to send nuclear waste to Palo Verde

    California activists want to send nuclear waste to Palo Verde

    Saturday, November 18 2017 2:02 PM EST2017-11-18 19:02:41 GMT
    (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    San Onofre State Beach is a kind of hidden gem among surfers. But there is something about the view here that looks just a little out of place. It’s a nuclear power plant, right on the beach. Some activists want to send the nuclear waste that's housed at San Onofre to Arizona.

    More >

    San Onofre State Beach is a kind of hidden gem among surfers. But there is something about the view here that looks just a little out of place. It’s a nuclear power plant, right on the beach. Some activists want to send the nuclear waste that's housed at San Onofre to Arizona.

    More >
  • Tuesday @ 9 p.m. on 3TV: Flooded cars in Arizona

    Tuesday @ 9 p.m. on 3TV: Flooded cars in Arizona

    Thousands of flooded hurricane cars are already in Arizona. Can viewers spot the red flags of a water-logged wreck? 3 On Your Side puts them to the test - Tuesday at 9 p.m. on 3TV.

    More >

    Thousands of flooded hurricane cars are already in Arizona. Can viewers spot the red flags of a water-logged wreck? 3 On Your Side puts them to the test - Tuesday at 9 p.m. on 3TV.

    More >