Bat found at Irvine Regional Park tests positive for rabies

A bat is shown in this undated file photo.

A bat found near the lake at Irvine Regional Park in Orange on Sunday has tested positive for rabies.

The bat was found around 11:30 a.m. in the park, located at 1 Irvine Park Road, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Officials urged that anyone who may have had physical contact with the bat or saw someone else having contact with the bat should call Orange County Health Care Agency Epidemiology at (714) 834-8180 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or (714) 834-7792 after hours to determine the risk for rabies.

The rabies virus is found in an animal's saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal, officials at the health care agency said. Bats have very small teeth, and experts said their bites may go unnoticed.

Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal. For that reason, preventive treatment to stop the rabies virus is given to anyone who may have been exposed.

Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have resulted from bat strains of rabies.
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