ORANGE (CBSLA) — Orange County health officials are alerting the public to a possible health risk after a bat found in a bike rental shop tested positive for rabies.

The bat was discovered around 1:30 pm at Wheel Fun Rentals at Irvine Regional Park at 1 Irvine Park Road on September 18.

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The Orange County Health Care Agency asks anyone who may have had physical contact with the bat or saw someone else having contact with the bat call the Communicable Disease Control Division at (714) 834-8180 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or (714) 834-7792 after hours to determine the risk for rabies.

They also suggest that owners of pets who may have had contact with the bat contact their veterinarian.

It’s the second instance of a bat with rabies in as many weeks. A bat found with the virus was also discovered September 13 at commercial building on N. Euclid Street in Anaheim.

The rabies virus is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal and is found in its saliva. Early detection is key — the disease is almost always fatal once a person begins showing symptoms. The disease is also quick. Someone who shows symptoms could die within a few days.

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Most U.S. cases of human rabies in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies; bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed.

The Orange County Health Care Agency urges prompt medical assistance after an exposure so any wound can be cleaned and preventive treatment can be started.

CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills had no trouble finding people frightened enough by the mere mention of the word “rabies.” Especially those in parks and places bats may show up.

“I want to try to run away,” says Leticia Gonzalez, “very scary.”


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