A 15th rabid bat was found last week in the Santa Clarita Valley, which has by far the largest concentration of animals infected with rabies in Los Angeles County.
The latest bat was found on the front porch of a home. It appeared to be dead until somebody poked it lightly with a stick.
It brought the countywide total to 38 rabid bats found so far this year, 40 percent of them found in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Eight to 10 rabid animals are found throughout the entire county in a normal year. Health Department officials don’t know why the numbers have spiked.
So far, all rabid animals found in Los Angeles County this year have been bats, which are the most common carriers of the rabies virus.
Throughout the SCV, their distribution has been fairly even, spreading from Stevenson Ranch to Canyon Country.
Most bats don’t have rabies, but those seen flying during daylight or lying on the ground are more likely than others to have rabies, which can be deadly to humans. Bats don’t suck people’s blood, but they do bite. Bite marks can be small and difficult to notice.
Health officials say bats found indoors near a sleeping person, a young child, an adult who cannot speak, or a pet, should be tested for rabies.
“In these cases,” according to the Health Department, “try to gently trap the bat without touching it – such as covering it with a bucket – and call your local animal control agency.”
It’s probably a good idea to wear protective clothing if you’re going to poke it with a stick.
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