Second live rabid bat found near schools in O.C.

Live rabid bat found in Huntington Beach, second discovery in O.C. in weeks

A live bat with rabies has been found in a Huntington Beach commercial center near a high school campus and a city park, marking the second time in weeks that a rabid bat has been found in Orange County.

Orange County Health Care Agency officials said the bat was discovered Sunday in the parking lot of a Big Lots outlet near the intersection of Warner Avenue and Goldenwest Street.

The bat tested positive for rabies, said Deanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the agency.

A live rabid bat was found in late January on some steps outside a building at Fullerton College. Students and faculty were notified by email and administrators said there were no reports of human contact with the winged mammal.

Likewise, Orange County health officials said there have been no reports that anyone came in contact with the bat found in the Huntington Beach parking lot, which is near Ocean View High School and Murdy Park.

A bite from a rabid animal typically transmits the virus, which is carried in saliva. In rare instances, saliva containing the rabies virus can enter the eyes, mouth or an open wound.

Symptoms of rabies are initially mild, including fever, headaches and general weakness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the disease intensifies, symptoms may include hallucinations, slight or partial paralysis, insomnia and excessive saliva.

"Bats are the biggest sector of rabies in California," Thompson said. "While bats are around all the time, most people don't realize it because they're nocturnal and they avoid people. So if we find a bat in a public place or near people, we can assume that the bat is sick."

She said anyone who might have touched the bat should contact health official immediately at (714) 834-8180 or (714) 834-7792 during evening hours.

Anthony Clark Carpio writes for Times Community News.

Times staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

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