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Record Number of Rabid Bats Found in LA County

So far, health officials have confirmed rabies in 45 bats, up from a previous record of 38 last year.

A record number of rabid bats have been found in Los Angeles County this year, public health officials said Monday as they urged residents to avoid contact with any bats or wild animals.

So far this year, health officials have confirmed rabies in 45 bats. The previously record was set last year, when 38 rabid bats were found.

"The reason for the increase is unclear," county Director of Public Health Dr. Jonathan Fielding said. "Regardless, it is important that everyone understand the potential dangers posed to themselves and their pets as most of these rabid bats have been found in and around homes."

County health officials said there have been several instances this year of people or pets encountering rabid bats in front or back yards and occasionally inside homes.

Anyone exposed to a bat should seek immediate medical attention, according to health officials, who noted that a bite from a bat can be difficult to see on the skin or on a pet. "Thankfully we have very effective post-exposure treatment and vaccine, which means there has not been a locally acquired case of human rabies in Los Angeles County in over 50 years," Fielding said.

According to the county, an average of only 10 rabid bats are found every year.

According to a city-released public health guide, an unattended bite from a rabid bat can result in death. 

People who come in contact with a bat through bites or any other infectious material such as saliva, should seek medical attention immediately. If a bat is discovered in a room where a child or mentally impaired person has been in, it is best to seek medical advice and have the bat tested for rabies, according to the guide.

Ron Rosen September 12, 2012 at 01:10 PM
No bats found at Dodger Stadium. ;-)
Jerry Baker September 12, 2012 at 02:16 PM
When did the bat species found around Southern California start biting people and animals?
Gayle M. Montgomery September 12, 2012 at 11:20 PM
The bats are like the rest of America. Going bonkers over the political environment. (Smile). Have seen quite a few in the night hours in some parts of the SGV, but I figured it was attributable to the warmer weather and more bugs.
LaDonna September 13, 2012 at 05:42 AM
On Sunday, I saw a swarm of bats flying around my home in Monrovia. There had to be at least 200 or more and they flew around for about 10 minutes and left.
Kate K. September 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Glad some folks have seen bats this summer. 10 years ago, I would see 2 or 3 every evening; I have seen 1 all this summer. Nat. Geog. studies last year say all bat populations are declining in U.S. {...BTW, Nathan, the e-mail headline says "Record Number of Bats"--- word "Rabid" was inadvertently deleted, rendering headline inaccurate....) Would love to have more bats, and thus fewer mosquitos!

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