It is not too often that you hear about rabies. You have probably never even heard of someone you know having rabies, but it is still possible to become infected. This is especially true for a few people that may have come into contact with a rabies-infected bat at the San Diego Zoo. County officials are doing everything that they can to ensure the rabies infection stays contained. At around three o’clock PM on April 15th the staff at the zoo managed to catch the rabies-infected bat while it was still within the zoo. Luckily for the zoo this bat was wild, and not a part of the zoo’s collection.
The bat was captured in a part of the San Diego Zoo that sees a lot of human traffic, but it seems as though nobody had made contact with the bat before it was captured. County officials have also confirmed that no other human or animal came into contact with the infected bat. Even though city officials seem nearly certain that nobody had sustained a bite from the infected bat, the San Diego Health Department is taking every precaution because rabies is almost always fatal in humans unless it is treated promptly. Strangely enough, last summer there were two other bats infected with rabies that had become loose within the zoo. It is believed that the infected bats did not harm anyone then either.
Bats can easily pass on rabies to humans through a bite, or if the bat’s saliva comes into contact with a bodily opening or wound. The best way to avoid a rabies infection would be to avoid contact with wild and/or stray animals. It is also important to be sure that your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. Bats are the most common animals to contract rabies in San Diego County.
Have you ever noticed that there is a heavier bat population in the Southwest United States? Why is that?