The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is warning people in the Los Angeles area about a potential rabies exposure at the Malibu CafÃ© after a bat was handled by a person or group of people, including children.
“At this time, we do not have any indication that this bat infected anyone with rabies. However, if untreated, rabies is nearly always fatal, so we want people to err on the side of caution,” said Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County Health Officer. “Parents need to ask their children if they noticed or touched any bats while at the facility. If anyone suspects they or their child came into contact with any bat, they should immediately be evaluated for possible post-exposure rabies treatment.”
Officials warned that rabies affects the nervous system of people or animals that contract the virus. It can rapidly cause death due to respiratory failure, but initial symptoms include fever, weakness and headache. People can also feel tingling sensations, anxiety, agitation, hallucination, abnormal behavior, difficulty swallowing and coma. Animals with rabies may be timid or show aggression or signs of illness.
Officials say people should not pick up or care for sick or dead bats, and if they see a dead or ill bat they should contact Public Health or their local animal control agency for removal.