Sven Sundgaard talks about his rabies scare

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SvenRabies.jpg
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His post-injection bandages visible, Sven says this is the only way he could ride home without extreme discomfort following his first round of rabies shots.
On Sunday morning, KARE 11 meteorologist Sven Sundgaard woke up with a bat on his face.

SEE ALSO: KARE 11's Eric Perkins dozes off on camera during the weather [VIDEO]

Sundgaard was enjoying a weekend at his family's cabin near Lake Mille Lacs when his rude awakening happened. But he says he "didn't feel a bite, and I chased the thing out of the cabin and thought, no big deal." At it turned out, it was kinda a big deal after all.

When he returned to work and told co-workers about what happened, one explained to him that bats transmit rabies to humans more often than any other animal and advised him to consult a doctor.

"So I called a doctor, and he said, 'You should get the shots.' I was like, 'What, really?' Then I got a second opinion and they said the same thing," Sundgaard told City Pages.

Though the odds of contracting rabies from a bat bite are extremely slim, the disease is almost 100 percent fatal for humans, and by the time symptoms develop, it's too late. Furthermore, bat bites can be almost imperceptible, so the only way for someone in Sven's situation to make sure he doesn't have rabies without getting the shots is to catch the bat and send it to a lab for a brain biopsy.

Of course, Sven didn't know that at the time he let the bat out of the cabin.

"I guess the moral of the story is, catch it and save yourself time and money," Sundgaard said.

Speaking of money, rabies shots aren't cheap. In fact, they set Sven back a couple grand.

In total, Sundgaard said the four installments of shots cost about $3,500, but because he has "crappy, high deductible insurance," he's paying about $2,000 out of pocket.

Sundgaard went in for his first round of rabies shots on Tuesday afternoon. He received four big injections, one in each butt cheek and one in each arm. The photo at the top of this post shows the aftermath -- Sundgaard was so sore that he had to ride home sprawled stomach-down across the backseat of a co-worker's car.

He'll go in for more arm injections tomorrow, next Tuesday, and then finally, a week from next Tuesday.

Sundgaard was too sore to work Wednesday morning -- "doing 20 different spots during the morning show with a sore behind wasn't going to be easy," he said -- but doesn't plan to miss any additional days. Thankfully, the first round of rabies shots is far worse than the last three, so Sven should be able to ride home sitting shotgun following his next three trips to the doctor.

And while shelling out $2,000 for a round of shots that leaves a person too sore to sit is no laughing matter, Sven said he and his KARE 11 co-workers are having fun with the situation.

As word of his cabin misadventure spread throughout the KARE studio, Sundgaard said his fellow meteorologist Jerrid Sebesta ribbed him, "Sven Sundgaard has rabies -- you can't make it up!" But thanks to the shots, don't expect to see Sven foaming at the mouth while delivering the weather forecast anytime soon.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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38 comments
John Zellie
John Zellie

This happened to my mom in about 1965, really spooked her out

Timothy Drews
Timothy Drews

I have more dragon flies in my area than bats..do you know where this was??

DESTROYMEGTUTHILL
DESTROYMEGTUTHILL

The main takeaway I got from this is that Sven Sundgaard is unreasonably buff.

pbutensc
pbutensc

I was bit by a bat in 1978.  I was 4 yrs old.  The neighbors were redoing their roof.  The bat came an hung onto our house.  Apparently I though it was a bird and wanted to pet it.  Of course it bit down on my hand and would not let go.  My mother grabbed a paper bag and pulled it off my hand into the bag.  She then brought the bat to the vet.  They killed the bat and tested it.  The bat turned out positive for rabies.  Within 24 hrs they had gotten the vaccine here for me.  Back then it was 23 shots in the stomach and a couple in the arm.  It was very painful and scary.

Tony Webster
Tony Webster

The only way to test for rabies is in death, which applies to bats, humans, dogs, etc. My rabies PEP was about $8k seven years ago. Imagine having several family members and pets inside. If there's a bat inside a space where you're sleeping, you must bring the bat in for testing or start rabies PEP within the 72-hour exposure window.

Erik Tiberius Lervold
Erik Tiberius Lervold

i'm scared that the bat is gonna contract douche baggery, also known on the streets as the douche.

Christopher Ray Hunnicutt
Christopher Ray Hunnicutt

Woke up with a bat on the face? Is that some new sexual contextualization of "some dude's balls?"

Marc Petersen
Marc Petersen

" ... the disease is almost 100 percent fatal for humans, and by the time symptoms develop, it's too late." Wow. I didn't know that.

Joseph Caliguire
Joseph Caliguire

See, this story got all twisted and taken out of context. He was in bed and got "The Bat Wing" on his face. Completely different deal entirely. ;)

IamDez
IamDez

@panopticon13 I accidentally read the second sentence to see what you meant. Thought you were against relaxing with family.

snipy
snipy

@panopticon13 agree, but also I' dlook nowhere near that good on the ride home.

Stephanie Marie Jones
Stephanie Marie Jones

Please don't be scared of bats now, we need them and they need help from humans to combat white nose disease...

Andrew Michael
Andrew Michael

Come on now City Pages...we wanna hear some more classy stories about Wisconsin.

Hans Dykema
Hans Dykema

I would be dead from a heart attack if I woke up with a bat on my face.

Joey LeMay
Joey LeMay

It's a Gannett company. I've worked for a subsidiary of Gannett, and can attest that the benefits really are terrible.

Melissa Dreier
Melissa Dreier

I'm sad that his lesson is to kill the bat rather than get the shots himself.

Sharon Stiteler
Sharon Stiteler

Sven has "crappy, high deductible insurance?" Clearly KARE 11 doesn't offer the best benefits to their staff.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

He's got crappy high deductible insurance.. Was that his choice or the only option offered by Care11?  Young, fit adults tend to skimp on Ins because they feel they really only need catastrophic coverage.

justplainbob
justplainbob

@atrupar Not to mention his "crappy, high deductible insurance." You would think that rabies shots might be considered a medical necessity.

robert.moffitt
robert.moffitt

There's the trouble with "crappy, high deductible insurance." Even the young and fit can encounter unexpected medical bills.

Bob1
Bob1

It's sad that one of the most well-known weathermen in the Twin Cities has such crappy health insurance. Shame on you , Kare 11.

KTHeaney
KTHeaney

@PunkyStarshine haha true. It's more the confluence of the bat and the local insanely Swedishly-named meteorologist. But I know.

robinscholer
robinscholer

Classy comment, Christopher. Way to show us the limits of your intelligence and humanity rather than something positive or educational.

kennyX
kennyX

@Marc Petersen 

I bet you also heart his anus.

pbutensc
pbutensc

@Melissa Dreier Yes the bat should be killed to see if it is rabid.  Poor bat or poor person that WILL die without the vaccination.  I love all animals and would not condone killing if it could be helped.  The bat that bit me was alive, barely but alive.  Thank god my mother was smart enough to think she needed to bring this bat into the vet and have it checked out. They did kill it to test it.  Yes it was rabid.   I think it is weird that you wouldn't put the bat to down.   I still go through so much when I go to the doc and they want to draw blood or give me a vaccination (Mentally and physically).  I can't do it.  It terrifies me.  So for you to say just go through the vaccinations is just mean.  Back in my day it was 23 shots.  Every day till they were done.  Maybe you didn't realize what rabies is and can do. 

bethann.bloom
bethann.bloom

@Melissa Dreier  

Killing a rabid bat protects not only people but other animals

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Melissa Dreier Anyone in that situation should do the same.  You're talking about a pretty powerful cocktail of drugs there.  I wouldn't put it in my body if it weren't necessary.  Not to save a bat.

PunkyStarshine
PunkyStarshine

@KTHeaney haha I was just trying to help ease the transition, but I really can't beat all that haha

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