SAN DIEGO–County Health and Human Services officials say a bat found alive Saturday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has tested positive for rabies.
The bat was found in the Oasis Deli in Nairobi Village, according to County of San Diego Communications Office spokesmanCounty health officials are trying to determine if anyone who was in the park on June 11 directly handled the rabid bat.
“Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “There has been no reported human or animal contact with this bat, but it was found in an area where many park visitors pass by, and we want to make sure that no one had contact with it.”
Health officials say rabies transmission can occur from a bat bite or if a bat’s saliva comes in contact with a cut or abrasion, or with mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.
“People should always stay away from bats and other wild animals to prevent possible exposure to rabies,” said Wooten. “If you see a bat, dead or alive, don’t touch it.”
Rabies in humans can be prevented by avoiding contact with wild, stray, and unknown domestic animals, ensuring pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations, and receiving prompt medical advice following animal bites and other significant exposures to potentially rabid animals. Rabies is not uncommon in wild bats in San Diego County, according to health officials.
Anyone who came in contact with a rabid bat are urged to call County Health and Human Services (619) 692-8499.