Rabid bat may have infected participant at Del Mar Mud Run

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SAN DIEGO — A runner who had contact with a rabid bat during the Del Mar Mud Run has come forward and will get checked out by the county of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, according to event organizers.

Organizers told Fox 5 they sent e-mails to participants alerting them about the health concern as county health officials tried to find the runner who reported that a bat landed on him during the Del Mar Mud Run, because the animal tested positive for rabies.

The bat was captured during the Oct. 4 event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and was submitted to the county for testing.

County health officials said they are concerned because the runner and other people may have directly handled the rabid bat. Usually, rabies is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, but in rare cases the virus can spread when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with someone’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Anyone else who believes they were potentially exposed are urged to contact HHSA as soon as possible at 619-692-8499.

“The health and safety of this runner, and others who were potentially exposed, is our main concern,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. “We want to make absolutely sure that no participants or observers were potentially exposed to this deadly disease.”

Fairgrounds officials say it’s an isolated incident and add they have never had a problem with bats during events.

“We are doing everything in our power to take a look around and find out if we do have an issue. It doesn’t appear there is one at this time,” said Linda Zweig, a spokesperson for Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Symptoms of rabies in people can take weeks to months to develop after exposure to a rabid animal has occurred. The HHSA said that once symptoms develop, rabies is almost always fatal. However, prompt post-exposure treatment following exposure to the virus will prevent the disease.

Event participants and observers that had no contact with the bat are not at risk for rabies.

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