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Health warning issued after rabid bat is found in Orange County park

June 24, 2011 |  7:28 pm

Bat Orange County health officials Friday issued a warning to the public after a dead bat found in Laguna Niguel Regional Park was found to have rabies.

Since untreated rabies can be fatal, anyone who has had recent contact with a bat was urged to call the Orange County Health Care Agency Epidemiology Department to be evaluated, the agency said. The phone number is (714) 834-8180. Anyone who is bitten by a bat should wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical treatment.

A park employee found the dead bat and turned it in for testing, which was completed Friday afternoon, said Deanne Thompson, a health agency spokesperson. Since the first discovery, officials have learned of multiple dead bats at the park but those others have not been tested, she said.

Rabid bats have been found in Orange County over the last several years, but health officials make announcements about their discovery only if they are found in a public area, Thompson said.

The rabies virus is usually transmitted via saliva from a bite from a rabid animal. Most cases of human rabies in recent years have resulted from bats, according to the health warning. Bat bites might go undetected at first since the creatures have very small teeth.

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: Bats cause most cases of human rabies.

Credit: Associated Press

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