Health officials warn of rabid bat at Safari Park

Health

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to say the bat was found at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. 

SAN DIEGO — Health officials are looking for anyone who may have recently come into contact with a rabid bat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency says the live bat was found at the Safari Park on June 25 and tested positive for rabies.

“Anyone who had direct contact with the bat — such as touching or holding the animal — is urged to contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499,” the department said in a news release.

“If you did not have direct contact with the bat you are not at risk for rabies.”

The county says the animal was wild — not part of the park’s collection. It was spotted in the Mombasa Island Pavilion area of the park and “collected by a trained park employee,” then delivered to the county, according to officials.

“Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s top public health officer, said in a written statement.

“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.”

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The county said one other rabid bat has been found in the region this year.

Rabies transmission can occur from a bat bite or if the animal’s saliva comes in contact with a cut or scrape, or with a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, health officials explained.

“If direct contact with a bat does occur, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and get medical advice immediately,” the county said.

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