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Rabid Bat Potentially Infects Safari Park Visitor; County Seeks ID Of Visitor

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park's sign appears in this undated photo.

Photo by San Diego Zoo Global

Above: The San Diego Zoo Safari Park's sign appears in this undated photo.

San Diego County officials asked for the public's help Monday to identify the person, and possibly others, who may have been exposed to rabies this weekend while visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Pasqual.

According to officials, a bat flew near an unknown woman around 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the park's Mombasa Cooker at Nairobi Village. A trained park employee later captured the bat and sent it to be tested for rabies. The County of Public Health Laboratory confirmed that the bat was rabid. The bat was not one of the Safari Park's animals.

Those who came into close contact with the bat left the park before sharing their contact information, according to park staff.

"We are concerned about the health of this woman and any park patrons who were in direct contact with the bat," said Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of the County Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch. "We want to make sure they were not potentially exposed to this deadly disease."

While rabies is a treatable viral disease, it can prove fatal if an infected person does not receive medical care after exposure, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

County officials have detected five rabid bats in San Diego County this year and discourage residents from handling bats.

Anyone who knows these individuals or was in contact with the bat was urged to contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency immediately at (619) 692-8499.

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