The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is looking for anybody who may have come in contact with a live bat that tested positive for rabies at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
The bat was found on Friday, June 25 in the Mombasa Island Pavilion and was collected by a trained park employee, the health agency said.
The bat was not one of the animals who live at the park. It was delivered to the county on June 25 and testing confirmed the animal to be positive for rabies.
“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.”
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If you or someone in your family group had contact with the bat, you are urged to contact the HHSA as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499. The health services said those who did not have direct contact with the bat, such as touching or holding the animal, are not at risk for rabies.
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, the county said.
“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.”
If direct contact with a bat does occur, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and get medical advice immediately.
There has been one other rabid bat found in San Diego County so far this year.