Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Bats Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How 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.

2. What 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.

3. What 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 LA County?
Call Veterinary Public Health for a rabies exposure consultation - 213-288-7060
Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

4. What bat species are native to the Los Angeles County area?

Los Angeles County is home to many different species of bats. The Mexican free-tailed bat, California myotis, hoary bat, and Western pipistrelle are some of the most common species present.

5. What other wildlife species can transmit rabies? Are bats the only animals I should be worried about?

In Los Angeles County, bats are the primary vector for rabies. However, rabies can also be transmitted by other animals including raccoons, coyotes, skunks, opossums and foxes. Though these cases are less common in California, you should avoid disturbing wildlife and never approach or touch a wild animal.

What should I do if I find a bat in the house?
What if I see a bat outside?
 How can I get bats out of the attic?
Are you considering building a bat house?
Which disease do bats carry?
Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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