A bat found at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido this week tested positive for rabies, county officials said Friday.
The bat was last seen alive around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday near a walkway across from the Red River Hogs exhibit in Nairobi Village. About five hours later, someone found its carcass on a public walkway outside the Hidden Jungle, between the Gorilla Forest and African Woods.
Park staffers delivered the bat to the county for testing Thursday. Authorities said no human or animal contact with the bat had been reported.
“Human rabies is usually fatal without prompt post-exposure vaccine and treatment,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “There has been no reported human or animal contact with this bat, but it was found in an area where many park visitors pass by, and we want to make sure that no one had contact with it.”
Rabies can be transmitted to humans through an animal bite or if its saliva comes in contact with a cut or abrasion, or with mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth. County health officials said people should never handle a bat or any other animal that might have rabies.
“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.”
County officials asked that anyone in the park on Wednesday who handled the bat or was in a group with someone who did so to contact the county’s Health and Human Services Agency as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499. Those who did not have direct contact with the animal are not at risk for rabies.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: