For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Janet Berreman, MD, Health Officer, (510) 981-5300

INFECTED BAT A REMINDER TO USE CAUTION

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 23, 2013) - A bat infected with rabies was recently found in the area of the 1500 block of Spruce Street in the City of Berkeley. Although the bat was removed without incident, residents in Berkeley and the surrounding areas are advised that Alameda County has been a “Rabies Area” since 1958.

In Berkeley, bats and skunks are the most likely animals to be infected, although unimmunized dogs, foxes, coyotes, badgers, weasels, raccoons and unvaccinated cats can also carry the rabies virus.

Rabies infection is virtually always fatal in man so it is critical that people know how to prevent infection. Avoid skunks and bats and do not handle dead wild animals.

Educate your children about the dangers of wild animals and warn them not to touch any animal they do not know.

Any nocturnal animal which is seen during daylight hours such as skunks, bats, or grey foxes should be considered dangerous.

Call Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600, Monday-Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., if suspicious or dead animals are observed in your area. For after-hours emergencies contact Dispatch at (510) 981-5900.

RABIES FACTS AND PROTECTIVE MEASURES

• Rabies is found in most counties in California including Alameda County. Alameda County has been declared a "Rabies Area" since 1958.

• Rabies is a deadly virus disease which affects the nervous system. Once symptoms start in an infected human being it is uniformly fatal. There is no known cure.In the event of contact with an animal which might have rabies, prompt medical attention including administration of immunization can prevent disease.  It is essential that anyone exposed to a potentially infected animal seek medical care immediately.

• Rabies is transmitted in the saliva of infected warm blooded animals (mammals) through mucous membranes or any break in the skin by biting, licking or scratching.

• Animals at high risk for carrying rabies are skunks, bats, dogs which have not been vaccinated against rabies, foxes, coyotes, badgers, weasels, raccoons, and wild and unvaccinated domestic cats. Rodents (gophers, mice, hamsters, squirrels, rats, opossums, guinea pigs) and rabbits are considered very low risk for rabies.

• The degree of risk to humans and pets for rabies is determined by the species of the animal and the circumstances. There is no risk for rabies from reptiles, birds, or insects.

• If a wild animal such as a skunk, bat, or grey fox which is normally nocturnal (active at night) is seen in the daylight acting in a strange manner, it may be tested for rabies by the State Health Laboratory. Example of animals to be tested:

• Immediately call the City of Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600 regarding strange acting animals.

• The following are protective measures that are necessary to prevent rabies in humans and domestic animals.

If you require information regarding wild animals such as bats or skunks, please call the City of Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600, Monday through Sunday or Vector Control Services at (510) 981-5310, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, contact Dispatch at (510) 981-5900.

 

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