For the second time in several weeks, the county of San Diego asked for the public’s help Tuesday in identifying people who may have handled a bat that later tested positive for rabies.
In the latest case, a group of five children discovered a bat around 11 a.m. Saturday, about 15-20 feet from the entrance of Pizza Nova on North Twin Oaks Valley Road in San Marcos.
“The health and safety of these children and the public are our main concern,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, the deputy county public health officer. “We want to make absolutely sure that no one was potentially exposed to this deadly disease.”
County health officials say people should never handle a bat or any other animal that might have rabies.
The disease is usually spread via animal bites, but in some instances can be passed to humans if the critter’s saliva comes in contact with the mouth, nose or eyes, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
People who know the identity of the children, their parents, or others who may have had contact with the bat are urged to contact the HHSA as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499.
Symptoms of rabies in people can take weeks to months to develop after exposure to a rabid animal has occurred. Once symptoms develop, rabies is almost always fatal, though prompt treatment following exposure to the virus will prevent the disease, according to the HHSA.
The HHSA also asked for the public’s help 11 days ago to identify a man who touched a rabid bat at the Del Mar Mud Run on Oct. 4.
Health officials later found out who he was and he appears to be fine, but is undergoing preventative rabies treatment as a precaution, according to the agency.
— City News Service
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