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Saugus dog found carrying rabid bat brings SCV total to 4 this year

County health officials repeat call for pet owners to have their animals immunized

Posted: July 18, 2013 5:59 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2013 5:59 p.m.

A Saugus dog was found with a rabid bat in its mouth last weekend, the fourth rabid bat found in the Santa Clarita Valley in 2013, county public health officials said Thursday.

“We have a dog being quarantined because of an encounter with a rabid bat,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the director of public health and health officer for Los Angeles County.

The dog, found with the bat on Sunday had been previously immunized, Fielding said. However, following policy dictates, the dog was ordered revaccinated and put into quarantine at its home for 30 days.

Previous cases of rabid bats reported in the Santa Clarita Valley included two found in May — one in Stevenson Ranch and one in Santa Clarita. A third was found in Santa Clarita in June.

Cases of rabies in bats escalate during warm summer months, and the disease has shown an overall upward trend during the past several years, the county’s acting director of veterinary public health, Dr. Ehnert, said in an earlier interview.

In 2012, 56 cases of rabid bats were reported countywide.

The Santa Clarita Valley typically has a high proportion of the county’s reported bat rabies cases because of its high bat population, Ehnert said.

She said the local bat population is high partly because of the Santa Clara River, which provides both water and bridges for bats to roost under. They also like to roost under Spanish-style tile roofs, she said.

Residents were urged to stay away from bats displaying unusual behavior and to be sure their pets’ immunizations are up to date.

Unusual bat behavior includes being active during the daytime or lying on the ground while the sun is out.

Residents who see bats acting this way should contact the county Department of Animal Care and Control at 661-257-3191.

Bats should never be touched or handled, Ehnert said.




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