Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Health officials issue warning on rabid bats

July 22, 2011 |  4:34 pm

Batvictim In the wake of a recent uptick of rabid bats in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, health officials are warning the public not to handle bats or other wildlife.

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.

Ventura County officials said Thursday that about a dozen bats were collected from four homes near Moorpark College, and 10 tested positive for rabies.

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.


Woman accused in penis attack to be arraigned Sept. 23

Complex portrait emerges of new suspects in Bryan Stow beating

Schwarzenegger's 13-year-old son seriously hurt in Malibu beach accident

-- Kate Mather

Photo: Steve Spence was bitten by a bat Sunday at his home in Moorpark.

Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times