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Rabid bat found at Safari Park

SAN DIEGO — A dead bat found at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive for rabies, and county health officials are looking for anyone who might have touched the animal.

The bat — which wasn’t part of the park’s collection of animals — was discovered Monday just before 10:30 a.m. near the Oasis Deli in the Nairobi Village section of the park, the county Health and Human Services Agency reported.

“Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment,” said Dr. Sayone Thihalolipavan, the county’s deputy 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.”

Dead rabid bats are found at the Safari Park every so often, including one in April, but county health officials said there is no risk of exposure if there is no direct contact with people. Rabies is spread 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,” Thihalolipavan said. “If you see a bat, dead or alive, don’t touch it.”

So far this year, 10 rabid bats have been discovered in San Diego County, according to the HHSA.