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Rabid Bat Found At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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

A rabid bat was found at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park last week, and health officials are looking for anyone who may have had contact with it.

The bat was found alive on the ground at 12:37 p.m. Friday near the entrance to the Oasis Deli in Nairobi Village, health and human services officials said. Trained park staff collected the bat without directly touching it and no human or animal contact had been reported.

The bat, which was not part of the park's collection of animals, was delivered to the county over the weekend and testing confirmed it had rabies. Rabid bats were also found at this location earlier on June 11 and July 10, according to officials.

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County health officials urged anyone who directly handled the bat — or knows someone who did — to contact the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency at (619) 692-8499.

Health officials emphasized that the only risk for rabies was to someone who had direct contact with the bat, such as touching or holding the animal.

"Human rabies is nearly always fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "While no

direct human or animal contact with this bat has been reported, it was found in an area where some park visitors pass by, and we want to be sure that no one had contact with it."

Rabies transmission can occur from a bat bite or if a bat's saliva comes in contact with a cut or abrasion, or with a person's mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth, officials said.

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

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