Batman has always been the serious, gravel-voiced 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 block of ice. Or an actual bat. Or chain-gang prisoner. Or a toddler. Or a baby.
— Google Images
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 complete neglect for who his company hires (see; every villain hired by Wayne Corp) (Hint; It’s all of them)
— Google Images / Scientific American
You’ll notice 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 real-world data sheet for Bat Rabies in Gotham. Of the nine urban species living in New York, all nine are capable of spreading rabies. But the most common carrier of rabies among the nine was, far and away, the brown bat. Also, the most common overall species to be roosting in New York was… the brown bat.
Of those caught and tested the percentages of 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 the 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…
Oh, come on!
At least we can rest assured that Bruce Wayne has his cowl on in this pictures. What with all the wild bats living in his manor, it would be super negligent for him to sleep in an exposed position…
— Google Images
Oh, right. He built a device to call the bats to him; to surround himself in bats, as well as scores of innocent people.
And remember, 1 in every 100 of those bats are potentially infected, and they’re none too worried about scratching the skin of the dumb pink ape amidst their cloud of leather-winged fury.
On the off-chance that Bruce Wayne has never contracted rabies, I’m willing to bet some bystander caught in his bat-cloud has. Because when he calls for “backup” he never says they’re tame bats that have undergone veterinary checkups. In fact, we’re led to believe the opposite– that Bruce is using his device to call all the wild 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 to clean the guano from the bat-lavatory, but as a lifelong nurse to administer regular rabies vaccinations to Batman and all the civilians exposed to his bat fetish. Alfred is a cross between the cleanup crew from Men In Black, and a veterinary assistant.