Rabid bat found in California park

June 25, 2011 at 10:35 AM

LOS ANGELES, June 25 (UPI) -- Health department officials in Orange County, Calif., say a dead bat found by a parks worker in Laguna Niguel National Park had rabies.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said in a Los Angeles Times report untreated rabies can be fatal and it urged those bitten by a bat to wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical treatment.

Since the dead bat was found, officials have learned of other dead bats in the park, but those animals haven't been tested for rabies, said Deanne Thompson, a health agency spokeswoman.

Rabid bats have been discovered in Orange County over the past several years, but health officials only make announcements about their discovery if they are found in a public area, Thompson said.

Rabies is most often transmitted through saliva from a bite from a rabid animal. Most human rabies cases are a result of bat bites, Thompson said. She said bat bites might go undetected at first because bats have very small teeth.

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