Rabies is a deadly, but preventable disease. In Alameda County rabies is rare, with an average of 2 to 5 positive rabid test results each year. This year, our first rabid animal was a bat that tested positive for rabies on February 14, 2019 from the Hayward area. Our second rabid bat tested positive on March 11, 2019. The bat was from the Pleasanton area. On March 25, 2019 a third bat from Hayward tested positive for rabies. A fourth bat tested positive for rabies on October 8, 2019 from the Fremont area. In the year 2018 there were 2 rabid bats; one on June 11, 2018 from the Livermore area; second bat tested positive on October 11, from Piedmont. In 2017, two bats tested positive; 1 from Piedmont in June and 1 from Pleasanton in November. Again in 2016, there were two positive bats. However, thirteen bats tested positive for rabies in 2015. The last skunk that tested positive for rabies in Alameda County was in 2005.
Almost every year since 2003, one or more persons in the U.S. has died from bat rabies. In 2015, an elderly woman died from exposure to a rabid bat. There were no bite marks so no medical attention was provided her.
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.
If you find a sick or dead bat in your home or yard, it is very important, that you do not touch it. Cover it with a container and call your local Animal Control or Alameda County Vector Control at 510-567-6800.
If you or your pet have direct contact with a bat, skunk, raccoon, fox or opossum, please contact your local Animal Control Services Agency to pick up the dead or wounded animal for rabies testing. Immediately contact your medical doctor or the Alameda County Public Health Office at 510-267-3250 for assistance.
For more information on rabies, this JA VMA article is available at the CDC.