Rabies season 2014 started in February, with a bat found dead in an Agua Dulce swimming pool.
LEON WORDEN | SCV NEWS
Rabies season got off to an early start this year.
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After an abnormally large number of rabid bats reported in Los Angeles County in 2013, the rabid bat season has started again.
Los Angeles County’s first rabid bat of 2014 turned up in February in a swimming pool in Agua Dulce. It was dead.
The second bat turned up in a backyard in Los Angeles, also in February. A cat found it.
Last year’s rabid bat season didn’t start until March, and only two were found countywide before April. By November, nearly half of the county’s identified rabid bats–14 of 33–had turned up in the Santa Clarita Valley, even though the SCV holds less than three percent of the county’s human population.
In 2012, the first one showed up in January in Santa Clarita, but the second wasn’t ID’d until March and the third came in April.
Rabies has been on the rise the past four years, and public health officials don’t know why. They’ve been collecting data since the 1960s, and an average year sees just eight to 12 cases in the whole county. The average used to be between eight and 10.
Bats are the most common carriers of rabies, but far fewer than one percent of bats have rabies.
If a bat is flying during the daytime, showing interest in a pet’s food dish, flopping around on the ground or dead in the water, residents shouldn’t touch it. Instead, they should call Animal Control.
There’s been only one case of a bat biting a human in L.A. County in recent years, and it happened two years ago in Acton when a sick bat fell out of a tree and landed on someone’s shoulder.
A bat bite feels like a tiny pin-prick, and often it’s difficult to tell if and when it happens. Anyone who believes they might have been bitten by a bat should seek medical attention right away.
Pets’ shots should also be kept current. If Animal Control thinks your pet has been bitten they’ll be subject to 30 days’ home quarantine if they’ve had all their shots. Otherwise they’ll be taken to a shelter for six months for observation.
Don’t leave water standing outside, because it breeds mosquitoes, and bats are attracted to them. Mosquitoes can also carry West Nile virus.
For up-to-date information about rabid bats reported in L.A. County, click here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News