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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

BAT attacked restaurant in Malibu area; Health officials urge contact eaters to test for rabies

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department is warning visitors who may have come into contact with a bat at an outdoor Malibu area restaurant to see a doctor for possible exposure to rabies, a deadly neurological disease.

Public health officials were informed that a bat flew into the dining area at the Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch and over-handled a person, and possibly the bat, who came into close proximity to a group of children, the agency reported. .

The Malibu Cafe sign on Monday, June 13, 2022 at Canaan Road. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health was notified that a bat was handled by one or more individuals at the Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

The incident happened on Saturday, June 4. Sharon Balter, director of Communicable Diseases and Prevention for the county DPH, said officials are asking anyone who has handled or touched a bat to see a doctor and be evaluated for post-rabies treatment. ,

The agency is asking that parents who were eating at the restaurant ask their children if they touched the bat and check for bite marks. Often children do not even know that they have been bitten. The agency explained that bats have small teeth and can leave a minor bite or scratch that may go unnoticed, even among adults.

Through bites, the saliva of a rabid bat can infect a human.

Balter said on Monday that so far the agency has not heard of anyone having rabies with a bat. But the agency is acting “out of caution” for diners at the rustic and upscale restaurant and wedding venue located on Canaan Road in the Santa Monica Mountains.

“It was a bat,” said Balter. “We got the definitive confirmation of one person who handled the bat and may have handed it over to other people. Besides, there were children. If they have handled the bat they should contact their health provider.”

The county agency does not have a bat so it cannot be tested for rabies. According to DPH, in 2021, 68 rabid bats were found in Los Angeles County, the highest recorded number in LA County since rabies was tested in 1961.

How Common Are Bats With Rabies? More common than people think. Most people think that dogs carry rabies but bats are often the main carriers of the virus that causes the disease, and they don’t show symptoms, Balter said.

The department considers any person exposed to wild bats at “high-risk exposure to rabies.” Rabies can be prevented with post-exposure vaccination shots but is fatal if treatment is not started before symptoms appear. Initially, infected people have fever, weakness and headache – and this can progress to a tingling sensation, anxiety, unusual behavior, hallucinations, difficulty swallowing, coma, and death.

Bats are the main source of rabies in Los Angeles County.

DPH reported that ten rabid bats have been detected so far in 2022. “It’s a significant number,” Balter said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 225 animal cases of rabies in California in 2018, 193 were from bats, while 28 had skunks in second place, followed by three foxes and one raccoon.

Human cases are rare. The CDC reports that only two cases occur each year in the United States.

Bats are like birds and migrate. They are more active in Southern California in the summer or when the weather warms up. Rabid bats have recently been found in San Bernardino County.

“We’re definitely in that season where we get a lot of calls about bats,” Balter said. “And we see rabies. But we haven’t had a human case in many years.”

She cautions people not to pick up or handle sick or dead bats. Instead, contact the local animal control agency for removal. “This is a reminder to people that bats carry rabies. We should stay away from bats and not handle them.”

Anyone who thinks they may have been in contact with a bat, call the LA County DPH at 213-974-1234.

World Nation News Desk
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