LEON WORDEN | SCV NEWS
Two more rabid bats turned up in Santa Clarita in May and June, bringing to three the total number of infected bats identified locally so far this year.
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So far this season, nine rabid bats have been found in L.A. County, which is less than the 12 found this time last year, said Karen Ehnert, with the Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health Department.
In a “normal” year (since testing began in 1961), just eight to 10 rabies cases are reported throughout the whole county.
“The cause for the increase is unknown,” according to the department’s website.
The site has data going back to 2000. The last two years had abnormally numbers. In 2012, roughly one-third (17 of 56) were found in the SCV. More than one-third (15 of 38) were found locally in 2011.
The county department numbers the cases chronologically. No. 6 of 2013 was found dead outside of a Stevenson Ranch home in May. Later that month, No. 7 was found alive outside a Santa Clarita home, and then in June, No. 8 was found dead in a Santa Clarita backyard. (No. 9 was found in Palmdale.)
Bats are always the likeliest carriers of rabies, but far fewer than one percent of all bats have rabies.
Cases of foxes and opossums carrying rabies have also been reported in Southern California, but it is very uncommon, according to Karen Ehnert, with the Veterinary Public Health Department.
If you see a bat flying in daylight, or bothering the family pet – or taking a keen interest in its food bowl – or clinging to a wall during the day, or flopping around on the ground, or dead, don’t touch it. Instead call Animal Control and let the professionals deal with it.
If you’re bitten–-it’s rare, but it did happen last year in Acton-–call 9-1-1 and get medical treatment immediately.
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Source: Santa Clarita News