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    News

    Rabid Bat Found At ELB's Newcomb Academy (K-8) School, East of El Dorado Park


    (April 18, 2007) -- As first reported on LBReport.com's front page earlier today, a live rabid bat was found on April 16 on the playground of ELB's Newcomb Academy, an LBUSD K-8 school just east of El Dorado Park (and east of 605 freeway between Wardlow Rd. and Spring St.).

    On April 18, local health officials told school officials that the bat -- identified as a "Mexican Free-Tail bat" (type shown at right) -- tested positive for rabies. a City Hall release said.
    Mexican Free Tail bat
    Photo credit: Centers for Disease Control

    In the release, City Health Officer Dr. Darryl Sexton, M.D. advises people to avoid contact with bats [!] as they could transmit rabies. The release continues:

    The bat was found by students who were on the playground at the time, and one student prodded the bat with the eraser-end of a pencil prior to its removal. Animal Control officials from the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) recovered the bat from the school, and tested the animal at the Health Departmentís Public Health Laboratory.

    The bat was identified as a Mexican Free-Tail bat, one of the most common species to be reported with rabies. City Public Health officials are working with Long Beach Unified School District officials to ensure that the student who prodded the bat receives precautionary medical treatment to prevent infection from rabies.

    In a letter to parents, Newcomb Principal Elizabeth Flynn said the "animal was wedged into the handball court between a pole and the wooden structure. Principal Flynn's letter and City Hall's release both make the following points:

    [quoting City Hall release] Rabies is a virus and causes a severe brain infection in mammals and humans that is usually fatal. Any wild mammal can be infected with rabies, but the disease is most commonly found in bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes. Humans can become infected through bites from an infected animal, or through contact with the saliva of an infected animal.

    Rabies has been rarely found in animals in Long Beach, but since the city is in the natural migration path for bats, infected bats are found approximately once per year in Long Beach. Signs of rabies in bats include: activity during the daytime (bats are usually nocturnal or active only at night); being present in an unusual place (such as a home, playground, or anywhere on the ground); and an inability to fly.

    Direct contact with any bat should be avoided.  If a bat displaying the above noted behavior is found, notify Animal Control at 570-7387 to retrieve the animal for testing.  

    In situations in which a bat is physically present and you cannot reasonably rule out having been bitten or exposed, seek medical attention immediately for post-exposure prophylaxis. Because rabies is a fatal disease, the Health Department is providing these additional tips to prevent risk of exposure to rabies:

    • Teach your children to never touch unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they seem friendly;
    • Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately;
    • Request to have all bats tested for rabies if exposure to people or pets occurs (contact Animal Control);
    • Prevent bats from entering homes, schools, churches and other similar areas where they might contact people and pets.  For advice on "bat-proofing" your home, contact Animal Control at the above telephone number; 
    • Be a responsible pet owner by keeping rabies vaccinations current for all pets;
    • Contact Animal Control about any sick or injured stray animal or for information on controlling nuisance wildlife.

    For more information on bats and rabies, call the Health Departmentís Animal Control Program at 570-7387 or visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/rabies.



    Newcomb Principal Elizabeth Flynn also sent a letter home for parents of students at her campus, covering material in the City release.


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