Batman has always been the billionaire crime-fighter we know and love, as long as you discount the time he was turned into a walking rainbow, or a tree-man, or a toddler, or a block of Batman ice, or an actual bat, or chain-gang prisoner, or when he had bat nipples, or the time…
You know what, fuck it.
I was going to say that Batman has always been his cool, crime-fighting self, but that just isn’t true. Nevertheless, Batman is (usually) an awesome detective-turned-ninja-playboy with near limitless resources and a blatant neglect for who his company hires (see; every villain hired by Wayne Corp. Hint: It’s all of them)
But I got to wondering, with as much time as he spends in the Batcave (insert masturbation joke here) how often does he contract rabies?
You’ll note I said “how often” and not “if ever” Batman has contracted rabies. Allow me to explain.
I’ll start with a compilation of bat facts I found in an article called Bat Rabies in New York State, because I couldn’t find a data compilation called Bat Rabies in Gotham. Of the nine urban species living in New York, nine are capable of contracting rabies. But the most common carrier of rabies among the nine species was, far and away, the brown bat. Also, the most common overall species to be roosting in New York was… the brown bat.
Bats tested for rabies are usually those in proximity to past rabies cases, or are found acting strangely, or are captured for other vermin-related reasons. The percentages of these rabies-positive bats hover between 4.5% in the early 1970’s, and 3.5% in the 1990’s. This was not a decreasing trend, however, and there are lower and higher numbers in the intervening years.
So let’s be generous for this hypothetical and assume 1% of brown bats Bruce Wayne exposes himself to are carriers. There’s also the question of viral transmission method. Bats don’t necessarily have to bite to spread the rabies infection. Because of the way they groom, rabies can be spread through a scratch or direct skin contact. Good thing Batman never comes in contact with large numbers of…
Well at least we can rest assured that Bruce Wayne has his armor on at all times around the wild bats living in his manor, and would never sleep in an exposed position that could…
Oh. He built a device to call bats to him, to surround himself in bats, as well as scores of innocent people.
And remember, 1 in every 100 of those bastards (at least) is carrying rabies, and probably not worried too much about scratching the skin of the dumb pink apes amidst their cloud of leather-winged fury.
On the off-chance that Bruce Wayne has never contracted rabies, I’m willing to bet someone in his bat-cloud has. Because when he calls for “backup” he never says they’re tame bats that have all undergone veterinary checkups. In fact, we’re led to believe the opposite– that Bruce is using the device to call all bats in the nearby vicinity to him.
Well, at least it’s only rabies, a 98% fatal disease, right?
“Even though rabies and histoplasmosis can be found all over the world, some diseases associated with bats are found exclusively in certain regions of the world. Notably, research suggests that bats might be the source of several hemorrhagic fevers, which affect multiple organ systems in the body and often lead to life-threatening diseases.”
At this point I’m convince Alfred’s job isn’t that of loveable, kindly old butler, but as lifelong nurse hired by his Bruce’s doctor father– to administer regular rabies vaccinations to Batman and all the civilians exposed to his bat fetish, like a cross between Pulp Fiction’s “The Wolf” and the cleanup crew from Men In Black.