Health officials issue warning on rabid bats
Twelve rabid bats have been found scattered across Los Angeles County since the beginning of the year, numbers that are above normal.
Typically, about eight to 10 rabid bats are found each year, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Heath.
Ventura County also has seen an increase, but the confirmed cases primarily have been near Moorpark College.
Typically, the county finds seven or eight rabid bats a year.
"These numbers do not mean that the public should become alarmed. Most bats do not have rabies," Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said in a statement Friday. "However we want everyone to be aware of what they should do if they see a bat on the ground, or if they or their pets come into contact with a bat."
L.A. County officials said anyone who sees a bat on the ground or in a building should avoid it and immediately call animal control.
Any person who comes into direct contact with a bat should call a doctor, they said, and pets should be current on their vaccinations.
Rabies is fatal for bats and people, but bats can live with the disease for a longer amount of time.
Officials noted that because bats are federally protected species, it’s against the law for the general public to kill or harass a bat.
-- Kate Mather
Photo: Steve Spence was bitten by a bat Sunday at his home in Moorpark.
Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times