A rabid bat was found in San Francisco’s Sunset District last week and city health officials today are advising anyone who may have encountered the winged mammal to be evaluated for exposure.
The bat was found dead on the sidewalk at Vicente Street and 32nd Avenue on June 18.
It was picked up by San Francisco Animal Care and Control and tested by the city’s Department of Public Health, which found it had rabies.
Eileen Shields, a spokeswoman for the department, said no human exposures have been reported and that the department doesn’t believe anyone touched it. She said it is possible, though, that pets may have been exposed.
“It’s a lot more likely that a dog will sniff and get near a bat than a human will,” Shields said.
Between one and five rabid bats have been found each year in San Francisco since 2004. Exposure to rabid bats is the leading cause of human rabies in the U.S., according to the health department.
“Bats are everywhere in the city,” Shields said.
Rabies can cause coma or death, but immunization can prevent the infection and illness if given soon after the exposure.
Anyone who may have touched the bat is asked to call the Department of Public Health at (415) 554-2830.
For more information about rabies, visit sfcdcp.org.
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