LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Public health officials reported Monday that a record number of rabid bats were found this year in Los Angeles County.

Officials said so far, 45 rabid bats have been found compared to last year’s 38.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county’s director of Public Health, said the reason for the increase is unknown.

“Regardless, it’s important that everyone understand the potential dangers posed to themselves and their pets as most of these rabid bats have been found in and around homes,” he said.

According to health officials, a number of residents and animals have come into contact with rabid bats in the front yard, back yard, and inside of a home.

They’re encouraging anyone exposed to a bat to seek medical attention, especially since a bat bite can be difficult to see.

“Thankfully we have very effective post-exposure treatment and vaccine, which means there has not been a locally acquired case of human rabies in Los Angeles County in over 50 years,” Fielding said.

Only 10 rabid bats, on average, are found in the county every year.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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