Holy communicable diseases–a bat infected with rabies has been found in Anaheim, the Orange County Health Care Agency announced today. Specifically, the bat was found “at the north entrance of a commercial building located at 4332 E. La Palma Ave. in the City of Anaheim on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at around 4 p.m.,” according to the HCA announcement.
Since being found, the bat has tested positive for rabies.
“Anyone who may have had physical contact with this bat or saw someone else having contact with the bat is asked to call the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Communicable Disease Control Division at (714) 834-8180 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or (714) 834-7792 after hours to determine the risk for rabies,” states the announcement. “Owners of pets who may have had contact with this bat should contact their veterinarian.”
According to the HCA, the rabies virus is transmitted mostly by bites (though very rare, saliva from an infected animal can transmit the disease if it comes into contact with your eyes, mouth or an open wound).
“Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies,” states the announcement. “Bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed.”
Rabies is usually fatal to a person by the time symptoms start appearing (click here for a Centers for Disease Control fact sheet on rabies symptoms). To minimize the risk of getting rabies, the Orange County HCA recommends the following:
Avoid all contact with wild animals.
Vaccinate all cats and dogs against rabies.
Do not sleep with open unscreened windows or doors.
If bats are seen inside the house or other structure, close off the area and contact animal control. Once the bat(s) have been removed, close off any areas allowing entrance into the house.
Do not leave pet food outside where it will attract wild animals.
Immediately wash all animal bites with soap and water, being sure to flush the wound well, then contact your doctor.
Report all animal bites to OC Animal Care.
Report stray animals to OC Animal Care.
To report a bat in your home, an animal bite or a stray animal, contact OC Animal Care at (714) 935-6848. You can get more information on rabies at cdc.gov/rabies.
Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.