A Mexican free-tailed bat, like the one pictured, tests positive for rabies after it was found on the grounds of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on June 11. Photo courtesy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Rabid bat found at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

ESCONDIDO — A Mexican free-tailed bat, native to Southern California, that was found alive on the grounds of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Saturday tested positive for rabies.

On June 11, a park employee discovered the bat on the ground in the Nairobi Village area, where trained staff eventually captured and a transported the animal away for care, according to Christina Simmons, a spokesperson from San Diego Zoo Global.

The bat was apparently not one of the park’s animals, according to a news release from the county of San Diego.

On June 13, the bat was transferred to the county for rabies testing, which was confirmed with a positive result.

“There is no reason to believe that any guests, staff or volunteers came into contact with the bat but in an excess of caution Health and Human Services has sent out information to the public to make them aware of this incident and to advise them if they have any concerns,” Simmons said.

The county is asking anyone that might have directly handled the rabid bat to contact them immediately by calling (619) 692-8499.

This is the second bat found in the county this year that has tested positive for rabies, according to Tom Christensen of the county of San Diego Communications office. Last year, six bats tested positive for rabies.

“People should always stay away from bats and other wild animals to prevent possible exposure to rabies,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., in a news release. “If you see a bat, dead or alive, don’t touch it.”

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