SANTA ANA (CNS) - A bat found at a parking lot in Fountain Valley tested positive for rabies, according to Orange County health officials.
The animal was found at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Pickleball Court No. 1 at the Fountain Valley Tennis Center on 16400 Brookhurst St.
Given the location and circumstance, the OC Health Care Agency urged residents to be on the alert and avoid contact with any bats.
"Contact with bats should be avoided and any potential bat bite should be discussed with a medical provider," the agency said.
Anyone who may have had physical contact with this bat or who saw someone else having contact with the bat was asked to call the HCA Health Care Agency's Communicable Disease Control Division at 714-834-8180 to determine the risk for rabies.
Owners of pets who may have had contact with this bat should contact their veterinarian.
The rabies virus is found in an animal's saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal. Although very rare, contamination of the eyes, mouth or an open wound by the saliva of a rabid animal can also transmit rabies.
Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies; bats have very small teeth, and their bites may go unnoticed. Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal.
The HCA and OC Animal Care officials recommend the following actions to minimize the risk of rabies:
-- 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;
-- 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.