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Rabies is a deadly but preventable disease. Though rabies is rare in Alameda County with an average of 2 to 5 bats testing positive each year for the disease, we had 13 bats test positive in 2015.

Almost every year since 2003, one or more persons in the US has died from bat rabies. In 2015, an elderly woman died from exposure to a rabid bat. There were no bite marks so they did not inform their doctor.

It is important to remember that public health and safety begins at home, first by making sure your pet dogs and cats are vaccinated for rabies.

It is very important that if you find a sick or dead bat in your home or your yard, that you do not touch it, cover it with a container and call your local Animal Control or Alameda County Vector Control.

If your pet or you have direct contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon, fox or opossum, please contact Animal Control Services Agency to pick up the dead or wounded animal for rabies testing and immediately contact your medical doctor or the Alameda County Public Health Office for assistance.

For more information on rabies, this JAVMA article is available at the CDC website: http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/pdfplus/10.2460/javma.248.7.777