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Rabid bat bites boy in Riverside County

September 25, 2009 |  2:56 pm

Public health officials in Riverside County are urging residents to steer clear of bats acting strangely after a 15-year-old Hemet boy was bitten.

The bat was rabid and the teenager was treated by a doctor last week after the bite.

According to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, the boy found the bat flopping around on the ground during the day. When he tried to pick it up, it bit him. His condition was not immediately known.

"If you see a bat during the day, something is not right with that bat," said Sharon Fortino, assistant nurse manager for the county Department of Public Health. "They're nocturnal feeders."

She said no one should touch a bat but if necessary use a shovel, tongs or heavy leather gloves. Dogs, cats and other mammals can easily contract the virus if they get too close to a rabid bat.

Last year, Riverside County registered seven cases of rabies and has had three so far this year.

-- David Kelly in Temecula