Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

A bat found near the lake at Irvine Regional Park on Sunday tested positive for rabies, Orange County health officials announced Tuesday.

The Orange County Health Care Agency is asking anyone who may have had physical contact with the bat, or knows of someone else who did, to call its epidemiology unit to determine the risk for rabies.

Calls are taken from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at (714) 834-8180. The after-hours number to call is (714) 834-7792.

The rabies virus is found in an animal’s saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal. Although very rare, contamination of the eyes, mouth or an open wound by the saliva of a rabid animal can also transmit rabies.

Most cases of human rabies in the United States in recent years have been the result of bat strains of rabies, according to the HCA. Bats have very small teeth, so their bites may go unnoticed.

Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal, which is why preventive treatment to stop the virus from causing illness is given to anyone who may have been exposed.

— City News Service 

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