The Santa Clarita Valley continues to be the L.A. County leader in rabid bats, with 15 of 26 reported cases occurring in the SCV at the latest count.
The SCV’s most recent rabid bat was found outside of a home in Canyon Country. The one before that was clinging to a kitchen window screen in Newhall.
This is the first year more than half of the county’s rabid bats have been found in the SCV. It’s been close to that, the last four years, with the SCV accounting for about 40 percent of the rabies cases despite being home to just 3 percent of the county’s human population.
Rabies cases have been on the rise, and county Health Department officials don’t know why. A “normal” year used to see just 8 to 10 rabies cases countywide, and the stats have been kept since the early 1960s. Now it’s closer to 50 in a full year.
This summer a rabid skunk turned up in Long Beach, where it’s believed to have been infected by a bat. It’s the first rabid skunk to be identified since 1979.
Most bats don’t have rabies, and they’re actually good because they eat mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus.
Fewer than 1 percent of bats are diseases, and of those, still fewer have rabies. If you see a bat flying during daytime, or flopping around on the ground, or being carried in a dog’s mouth, or dead, call Animal Control and let them deal with it. Don’t touch it. The bat or the dog. Make sure your dog’s shots are current; otherwise Fido will be quarantined for 6 months.
L.A. County’s rabid bats in order of occurrence:
1. Agua Dulce. February. Dead bat found in swimming pool.
2. Los Angeles (West LA). February. Cat found bat in back yard, on ground. Cat placed under quarantine.
3. Santa Clarita (Newhall). April. Bat seen during the day hanging on an outside wall at a residence. It flew away and was later found on the ground.
4. Palmdale. April. Bat found alive at park. Park patron alerted park authorities, who submitted bat for testing.
5. Los Angeles (Koreatown). April. Bat found on an outside stairwell, was lifted by tip of wing and moved to sidewalk by employee.
6. Los Angeles (Century City). April. Bat found flying around in daylight under an awning at a business. Bat fell to ground, was covered with a box, and Animal Control called.
7. Topanga. April. Bat found alive outside a home.
8. Monrovia. May. Bat found alive inside living room of a home. Unknown how long it had been in house. One vaccinated dog and three people in home had potential for unrecognized bite. People referred to medical care for rabies post-exposure treatment, and dog will be quarantined at home and observed for 30 days.
9. Santa Clarita (Newhall). June. Bat found on patio. It was staggering as it walked. Resident covered bat with pool net until animal control arrived, and kept dog away from it.
10. Los Angeles (Mar Vista). June. Dog caught bat while it was flying in a park in daylight. Person bitten while trying to remove bat from dog. Person sought medical care. Dog was up-to-date on rabies vaccine before incident, was re-vaccinated after and quarantined for a month.
11. Santa Clarita (Newhall). June. Bat found inside a garage.
12. Bradbury. July. Live bat found in back yard. Bit person when picked up. A cat then attacked bat and a dog got near it, possibly came in direct contact. Neither pet was up-to-date on it rabies vaccination. Person referred for medical care. Dog and cat referred for veterinary care for rabies vaccination, placed under 6 month quarantines to observe for rabies.
13. Santa Clarita (Canyon Country). July. Bat found alive on ground outside a home.
14. Santa Clarita (Newhall). July. Bat found on ground in front of a garage. Hissed when approached.
15. Santa Clarita (Canyon Country). July. Bat found outside of a home.
16. Stevenson Ranch. July. Bat found alive outside a home.
17. La Canada Flintridge. July. Bat found alive outside a home.
18. Santa Clarita (Newhall). August. Two dogs playing with dead bat. Dogs not up to date on rabies vaccines, so placed under 6 month home quarantine.
19. Encino. July. Bat found on sidewalk in business area.
20. Santa Clarita (Newhall). July. Bat found alive hanging on side of a house in daytime.
21. Santa Clarita (Saugus). August. Bat found alive outside a home.
22. Santa Clarita. August. Bat found in the mouth of dog. Two dogs on property likely had contact. The dogs’ rabies vaccinations were current, so their vaccination will boostered, and they will be under a home quarantine for one month.
23. Santa Clarita (Newhall). August. Bat found in side yard, hissing a lot.
24. Santa Clarita (Newhall). August. Bat seen clinging to outside of kitchen window screen, Later found on ground.
25. Santa Clarita (Canyon Country). August. Bat found outside of a home.
26. Los Angeles (Los Feliz). Bat found lying on its back on a sidewalk.