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By Jennifer Kitchen
Published: September 20, 2010

Hello Coast Clients,
I don't mean to alarm anybody but there have been some additional cases of Rabid bats in the Los Angeles Area. This information is from the LA County Veterinarian.
This is why we recommend that both dogs AND CATS (even indoor only) be kept current on their rabies vaccinations. As you can see some of these bats were found indoors.
Also, don't ever touch a bat.
See below and attached for more details and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Dr. Jennifer Kitchen, DVM
Medical Director
VCA Coast Animal Hospital
1560 PCH, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
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The Veterinary Public Health & Rabies Control Program has detected 15 rabid bats in Los Angeles County so far this year, with eight being found in the Santa Clarita Valley area.   Typically, we only identify 10 rabid bats during an entire year.  The only other year with a higher number of rabid bats recently was in 2007, when 24 rabid bats were identified.
This past year, most of the rabid bats were found in and around homes, but three were collected in public areas. One was picked up at a golf course, another in a judge’s chambers, and most recently, a bat was found alive on the sidewalk in front of a store in Stevenson Ranch.
Two dogs were also found playing with the live rabid bats at their homes. These exposures carried a high risk of rabies transmission, but fortunately the dogs were up-to-date on their rabies immunizations. After being revaccinated, the dogs were quarantined at their homes for 30 days.  If the dogs had not been vaccinated, their owners would have been faced with the choice of euthanizing their pet or having it in a strict quarantine for six months.  These two cases demonstrate the importance of keeping pets up-to-date on their vaccinations.
Because of the apparent increase in local bat rabies, and bats being found in public venues, our department wants to remind the public that rabies is continually circulating in our county.  In nature, fewer than 1 in 1000 to 10,000 bats are infected with rabies, but when a sick bat is found, the risk is higher (approximately 10% test positive for rabies).   Individuals should take the following steps to reduce theirrabies risk:
*Make sure your pet is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination.
*Immediately consult with your physician if you are bitten by wildlife, to determine if you need rabies post-exposure treatment.
*Do not try to pet or directly handle any wildlife, especially bats.
*If a bat is found on the ground around your home or in a public place, place a box over it and call your local animal control agency.
*If a bat is found in your home and may have had access to pets or areas where people were sleeping, do not release it outside.  If possible, put a small box or container over it and call your local animal control agency.
*Report any animal bites or wildlife exposures to your pets to
Veterinary Public Health & Rabies Control (213-989-7060).
Attached is a Bat Rabies Alert handout which you may use to inform others about the issue.  If you have any questions, please contact us at 213-989-7060.  Thank you for your assistance with local animal disease surveillance.
Karen Ehnert, DVM, MPVM
Acting Director
Department of Public Health
Veterinary Public Health & Rabies Control 213-989-7060
Note:  This alert and press release may be freely shared and distributed.