Another rabid bat has been found in Orange County, OC Health Care Agency officials announced on Oct. 10. The bat, found alive at the Kohl’s in Seal Beach on Oct. 6, tested positive for the rabies virus. Last month, a bat found in Anaheim tested positive for rabies.
“The rabies virus is found in an animal’s saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal,” states the OC Health Care Agency news release. “Although very rare, contamination of the eyes, mouth or an open wound by the saliva of a rabid animal can also transmit rabies. Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies; bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed.”
Rabies is particularly dangerous because once symptoms start appearing (weakness, fever, discomfort, itching around the bite area, delirium and insomnia), the disease is usually fatal in humans.
County officials recommend that residents take the following actions to lessen the chance of contracting rabies:
Avoid all contact with wild animals.
Vaccinate all cats and dogs against rabies.
Do not sleep with open unscreened windows or doors.
If bats are seen inside the house or other structure, close off the area and contact animal control. Once the bat(s) have been removed, close off any areas allowing entrance into the house.
Do not leave pet food outside where it will attract wild animals.
Immediately wash all animal bites with soap and water, being sure to flush the wound well, then contact your doctor.
Report all animal bites or bats found in a home or workplace to your local animal control agency.
OC Health Care Agency officials ask that anyone who came into contact with this bat, or knows of someone who did, to call the HCA Communicable Disease Control Division at (714) 834-8180 during normal business hours or (714) 834-7792 after hours.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.