Health Alert: San Marcos bat tests positive for rabies - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Health Alert: San Marcos bat tests positive for rabies

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SAN MARCOS (CBS 8) - For the second time in just weeks, there's a rabies scare in North County, and this time nearly a half-dozen children may have been exposed.

County health experts say a group of kids found and handled a bat that later tested positive for rabies outside the Pizza Nova on north Twin Oaks Valley Road in San Marcos.

"There's a report that there were some children around that may have had contact with that bat, and since rabies can be spread from an animal that has rabies to humans even through simple contact, we want to identify those individuals," Dr. Dean Sidelineger of County Health and Human Services said.

Bats who are sick are more likely to be out during the day, be less active and not fly. It can spread rabies by biting someone, or if a person ingests the bat's saliva, the result can have deadly consequences.

"For an individual who's infected with rabies and comes down with the disease, it's almost universally fatal," Sidelineger said.

This is the second incident this month. Earlier in October, at the Del Mar Mud Run, a runner had contact with a bat that later tested positive for rabies. Luckily officials were able to get to him in time.

"We did have an individual come forward and receive treatment to prevent them from coming down with rabies," Sidelineger said.

Time is important, because if these kids, or anyone else did come into contact with this bat in San Marcos, once symptoms start to show, that's when it becomes fatal. Symptoms of rabies in people can take weeks to months to develop after exposure to a rabid animal has occurred.

"We'd like to identify anyone who's had potential contact so we can see if they're at risk and give them the vaccine they need to prevent the disease and prevent any symptoms at all," Sidelineger said.

People who know the identity of the children, their parents, or others who may have had contact with the bat are urged to contact the HHSA as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499.

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