Bat infected with rabies found in Orange County

A bat found near the Irvine Regional Park in Orange County has tested positive for rabies, officials with the Orange County Health Care Agency announced Wednesday.

The bat was found east of parking lot W at the community park on 1 Irvine Park Road in Orange on Oct. 21 at about 2 p.m.

Rabies can be found in an animal’s saliva and transmitted to people if the infected animal bites them. Humans can also get the virus if silva from an infected animal contacts one’s eyes, mouth, or an open wound, a news release said.

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The first symptoms of rabies are similar to the flu and can include weakness, discomfort, fever, or headaches, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Discomfort, itching, or prickling may also occur near the bite marks. Symptoms can also progress to cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, and agitation.

Anyone who may have had physical contact with the bat or knows someone who has is encouraged to contact the OC Health Care Agency Communicable Disease Control Division to determine their risk of catching the virus.

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The agency can be reached at (714) 834-8180 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or (714) 834-7792 after hours.

Pet owners who may have been in the area are also encouraged to contact their pet’s veterinarian to see if their animal is at risk of contracting rabies.

To minimize the risk of rabies, officials recommend people:

  • Avoid all contact with wild animals

  • Make sure cats and dogs are vaccinated against rabies

  • Don’t sleep with open, unscreened windows or doors

  • Contact animal control if bats are seen inside a home or other structure

  • Don’t leave pet food outside since it could attract wild animals

  • Make sure to wash all animal bites with soap and water, flush out the wound and contact a doctor

  • All animal bites and stray animal sightings should be reported to OC Animal Care

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