Escondido, California - The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is reporting that a bat found at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park has tested positive for rabies.
The bat was found alive on Sunday, July 10 at approximately 2:15 p.m. near the Oasis Deli in Nairobi Village. Trained park staff collected the bat without directly touching it and no human or animal contact has been reported. The bat, which was not one of the park’s collection animals, was delivered to the County on July 11 and tested positive for rabies. Another rabid bat was also found at this location on June 11.
County health officials are interested to know if anyone who was in the park on Sunday, July 10 directly handled the rabid bat. If you or someone in your family or group had contact with the bat, you are urged to contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499. If you did not have direct contact with the bat, such as touching or holding the animal, you are not at risk for rabies.
“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 be sure that no one had contact with it,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment.”
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. There have been three rabid bats found in San Diego County so far this year.
“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. Contact the County as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499.”
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.
If direct contact with a bat does occur, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and get medical advice immediately.