common is rabies? Is it
common in Los Angeles County?
In a healthy bat population, rabies affects less than 1% of individuals. However, in Los Angeles County, 10-15% of bats submitted for testing are found to be rabies-positive. Bats submitted for rabies testing typically show unusual behavior and are more likely to be found, since healthy bats generally avoid contact with humans. To see where rabid bats have been found in our county, click here. Additional information can be found on our rabies page.
would happen if a rabid bat
bit me or my pet? What are
some general signs and
symptoms of rabies?
The rabies virus would enter the body at the bite site, travel to the central nervous system, and eventually cause inflammation in the brain. This can lead to a variety of symptoms that vary by individual and host species. Pets can undergo behavioral changes, become disoriented and aggressive, and experience seizures or paralysis. In humans, initial symptoms are flu-like (e.g. headache or fever) but quickly progress to more severe symptoms such as hallucinations, extreme anxiety, delirium, hydrophobia ("fear of water", i.e. difficulty drinking), and paralysis. Once these symptoms occur, the disease is almost always fatal.
is rabies post-exposure
prophylaxis (PEP, i.e.
rabies post-exposure shots)?
It is a series of 4 vaccinations given in the upper arm over a few weeks, and one dose of immune globulin given at the site of exposure or bite. These shots are given to prevent symptoms of rabies when a person was likely exposed to the rabies virus.
Have an encounter with a bat in Los Angeles County?
Call Public Health for rabies exposure consultation 213-989-7060 8-5pm
after hours 213-240-7941 (Physician on Call)