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Bats with rabies found in Ventura County

July 21, 2011 |  8:35 am

Rabidbats
Ten bats with rabies have been found in the Ventura County city of Moorpark, according to a report in the Ventura County Star.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that about a dozen bats were collected over a period of two months from four homes near Moorpark College, and 10 tested positive for rabies.

The number of bats found with rabies is unusually high, the paper quoted officials as saying.

County workers canvassed the affected neighborhood to warn residents to take precautions and not to handle bats.

“Ventura County is a rabies-endemic area,” officials said in a release. “We usually find a half-dozen cases in wildlife every year. The danger is amplified, but not limited to, your county's rural areas.”

The disease can be transmitted by an animal's saliva or skunk spray and can be carried by any warm-blooded animal or human.

Most cases found in Ventura County involve bats, raccoons, and skunks -- animals that should be avoided.

Rabies can be fatal if not treated.

In Orange County, officials reported on June 24 that a bat found at Laguna Niguel Regional Park on Laz Paz Road tested positive for rabies. A number of dead bats were reported seen at the park in the previous three weeks.

Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies, Orange County health officials noted. Bats have small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed.

Orange County health officials warn that if bats are seen inside the house or other structure, the area should be closed and residents should contact animal control.

Health officials have noted that bats are the animals that most commonly carry rabies in L.A. County.

“Most bats do not have rabies, and try to avoid contact with people and pets,” according to a statement on rabies prepared by L.A. County. “Bats are good for the environment because they eat insects and pollinate plants. Bats are also protected by law.”

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-- Howard Blume

Photo credit: KTLA-TV.

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