A California brown bat found at a West Newport housing complex last
week tested positive for rabies, Sgt. Bill Hartford of the Newport
Beach Police announced Wednesday.
No one has reported being bitten by the rabid animal, Hartford
said. As a precaution, parents whose children were near the housing
complex at 62nd Street and Prospect Street should ask them if they
came in contact with the bat, Hartford said.
It's not unusual for a bat found in an urban area to test positive
for the virus, said Howard Sutter, a spokesman for Orange County
"The bats that people come in contact with in urban areas are
often sick," said Hildy Meyers, medical director of epidemiology at
the health agency.
Six bats in Orange County tested positive for rabies in 2004 and
five bats have tested positive this year, Sutter said.
Bats and skunks are the animals that most commonly test positive
for rabies in Orange County, Meyers said.
Not everyone bitten by a rabid animal will contract the deadly
virus, Meyers said.
However, if the individual's immune system cannot fight off the
virus and no treatment is given, there is almost no chance of
survival, Meyers said.
Bats have small teeth and it is possible to have been bitten and
not know it, Meyers added.
The symptoms of rabies -- tingling in the bite area, general
confusion and the fear of water -- do not develop quickly, Meyers
If someone has been bitten, he or she should clean the area with
water and immediately seek medical help, Meyers said. Anyone who has
been exposed to rabies can seek preventive treatment -- a series of
shots over the course of one month.
A resident of the Newport Shores housing community called the
city's animal control office when the bat was spotted the morning of
July 28 on a fence in the basketball court area.
"It's unusual for the bat to be out at that time of the day,"
Animal control took the bat to an Orange County Health Agency lab
where the brain was examined and the animal was found to be infected
Those who think they may have been bitten should contact the
county health agency at (714) 834-8180.