Dead bat found at San Diego Zoo Safari Park tests positive for rabies

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-21 18:26:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego County health officials are looking for anyone who may have come into contact with a rabid bat, found dead this week at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Zoo officials found the bat Monday just before 10:30 a.m. at the Oasis Deli in Nairobi Village and testing confirmed the animal was positive for rabies, according to officials. The bat was not part of the park's collection of animals.

County health officials said there have been 10 rabid bats found in San Diego County so far this year.

"Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment," Sayone Thihalolipavan, County deputy public health officer, said in a release. "There has been no reported human or animal contact with this bat, but it was found in an area where many park visitors pass by, and we want to make sure that no one had contact with it."

A bat positive for rabies was also found in April at the same location in the park. No direct contact with that bat was reported.

APRIL'S INCIDENT: Bat with rabies found dead at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

"People should always stay away from bats and other wild animals to prevent possible exposure to rabies," said Thihalolipavan. "If you see a bat, dead or alive, don’t touch it."

Rabies can be transmitted through a bat bite or if a bat's saliva comes into contact with cuts, abrasions, or mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose, or mouth. If direct contact occurs, health experts recommend washing the affected area and getting medical advice immediately.

If you or someone had direct contact with the bat, they are urged to call Health and Human Services at 619-692-8499. If you didn't have direct contact, such as touching or holding, you are not at risk for rabies.