SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose Animal Control is issuing a warning after a boy found a bat that tested positive for rabies this week. The bat was found lying near a baseball field at a Willow Street Frank Branham Park in the Willow Glen neighborhood.
San Jose Animal Control said a teenage boy discovered a bat lying on the ground on Monday just after 1 p.m. The bat was found alive, feisty and alert. The Santa Clara County Public Health Department tested the sick animal. It tested positive for rabies.
“I didn’t even know we had bats in San Jose,” said David Duarte of San Jose. “Seeing a bat out here now that we know it was tested for rabies, I’m alarmed.”
Many parents at the park had no idea. The discovery comes as little league season is in full swing.
“That's kind of shocking,” said John Magana of San Jose. “Because I don't want to get rabies. That wouldn't be pleasant.”
Many park-goers appreciate the warning but want to know how the infectious bat ended up at the park.
“It could have come from an attic, it could have come from a hollow of a tree,” said Andy Pangelina of Creature Catchers.
Pangelina handles nuisance wildlife pest control. He's evicted bats from homes over the years in San Jose, and even he's surprised to hear of a rabies-infected bat at the park.
“Rabies is a very deadly disease,” said Pangelina. “It can kill you within a week if you contracted it.”
The viral disease often spreads through animal bites. It's almost always fatal if left untreated. It is possible, yet rare, for someone to get exposed to rabies through saliva or an open wound and that’s why Animal Control warns people and their pets to never touch a bat.
“That’s a little concerning because I have a dog,” said Jody Salzer of San Jose. “I don't want my dog to get a disease from any diseased bats.”
The Santa Clara County Health Department said this is the second positive test for rabies in a bat this year.
San Jose Animal Control is trying to get a hold of the young boy who found the bat for possible exposure. In the meantime, they’re advising anyone in the area if they see a bat it's best to stay away and call animal control.