A bat found at an Orange County college earlier this week has tested positive for rabies, and officials are urging anyone who may have been bitten by the rabid animal to seek immediate medical attention.
The bat, carrying the rabies virus that is nearly always fatal for humans, was found near the Fullerton College music building on Tuesday, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Bat strains of the virus have accounted for most cases of human rabies throughout the United States in recent years. Bat bites often go unnoticed because of their small teeth, the agency said.
Rabies is found in an animal’s saliva and can also be transmitted by contamination of the eyes, mouth or an open wound, officials said.
Officials asked anyone who might have come into contact with a bat near the area to call (714) 834-8180 so a nurse can evaluate the risk of the disease.
The agency and Orange County Animal Care recommended the following preventive measures to protect from the disease:
- Avoid all contact with wild animals
- Vaccinate all cats and dogs against rabies
- Do not sleep with open unscreened windows or doors
- If bats are seen inside the house or other structure, close off the area and contact animal control. Once the bat(s) have been removed, close off any areas allowing entrance into the house.
- Do not leave pet food outside where it will attract wild animals.
- Immediately wash all animal bites with soap and water, being sure to flush the wound well, then contact your doctor
- Report all animal bites to OC Animal Care
- Report stray animals to OC Animal Care