HIGHGROVE (CBS) — A dead bat discovered on a school playground in Highgrove tested negative for rabies, the Department of Animal Services reported Thursday.

A custodian at the school — whose students are on summer break — stumbled upon the dead creature on Tuesday and immediately reported the find, said John Welsh of the Department of Animal Services.

The campus was vacant for summer break, and no children were exposed, Welsh said.

Several other dead bats have been found in western Riverside County in the past week, including one that turned up dead in Moreno Valley and tested negative for rabies, according to Welsh.

“However, the Ramona Humane Society, which has officers that handle San Jacinto and Hemet, had a bat that they presented to us for testing, and that bat tested positive for rabies,” Welsh said. “I can’t tell you where they found it and when, or if anybody was exposed, but it was (found) this week.”

On June 5, a dead bat found in a Hemet neighborhood was confirmed to be a rabies carrier. Welsh said a dog was exposed to the animal but was current on its rabies vaccination and not infected.

On June 6, a 55-year-old pool maintenance worker pulled a dead bat out of a clogged drain in Riverside, and it tested positive for rabies. Welsh said the man told Animal Services workers he believed he had touched the creature’s teeth, but his health status wasn’t available.

Several downed bats have also been found in San Bernardino County in recent weeks.

Welsh said no one should touch a downed bat. Parents should teach their children about the potential danger.

“Three years ago in Hemet, a boy went to pick up a bat and it bit him.

It tested positive for rabies,” he said. “Moms and dads should tell their kids, `Don’t touch that bat.”‘

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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