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Rabid Bat Found in West Marin, Triggering Countywide Rabies Alert

Anyone who may have come in contact with a bat over Labor Day weekend near Lake Lagunitas should immediately contact Marin officials.

The Marin Humane Society has issued a rabies alert after a bat found near the main parking lot at Lake Lagunitas has tested positive for rabies.

On Labor Day, Sept. 3, a San Anselmo resident found a brown bat that was acting sick and making loud screeching sounds, according to the Spokesperson Carrie Harrington.

The resident used a hat to scoop the bat into a bag and brought it to in San Rafael.

staff turned the bat over to the Marin Humane Society because it wasn’t responding to being fed and wasn’t acting normal. “We immediately had it tested for rabies,” Harrington said. 

Rabies is a fatal viral illness that is spread by direct contact between an infected animal and other animals, including humans and their pets.

Anyone who had direct physical contact with a bat in this area on or about Monday, Sept. 3 should contact the Marin County Health Department immediately at 473-4163. If a pet had direct contact with a bat in this area, contact the Marin Humane Society at 883-4621, ext. 240.

County officials said they haven't heard of anyone who had significant or direct contact with the bat. 

Craig Lindquist, interim public health officer for the Marin Division of Public Health Health and Human Services, said a human begins to show rabies symptoms several weeks after exposure. “It starts with headaches, fevers and progresses over a short period of time to involve paralysis, excessive thirst and changes in mentation.” 

Serious illness and death from a rabies exposure can be prevented by prompt administration of an anti-rabies vaccine. It is imperative that anyone who had direct contact with a rabies-infected animal be evaluated by a health care professional and receive appropriate treatment.

Harrington said this is the first rabies alert issued in Marin this year.

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Jane Doe September 07, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I thought they couldn't test for rabies until the animal was dead, because the test requires a sample of brain tissue. Not true? Or maybe my info is outdated?
Maggie September 07, 2012 at 04:18 PM
They would have killed the bat to do the test. There is NO NEED TO PANIC about this! There are very few actual cases of people getting rabies from bats. The most important thing is never to handle wildlife with bare hands - always wear gloves.
Theresa September 08, 2012 at 02:07 AM
It is true that the animals tested are dead. Either it dies, is found dead or is euthanized. Upon autopsy of the brain, smears are made tissue and then stained directly with a fluorescent antibody specific to the Rabies Virus. It is also true, as you have commented, not handle wildlife with bare hands. That is the sad mistake people make, and why wild animals and at times, domestic animals, may have to be euthanized and be tested. Yes wildlife may be cute and we are curious, but they can carry various diseases. It is also key to vaccinate your pets. Working in Public Health, I have preached this for 25 years, so pardon my lecturing :-)

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