North Bay bats test positive for rabies

Two bats found in Windsor and Sebastopol tested positive for rabies the first week in April, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services said Friday.

The two rabies cases are the first of the year, the Department’s spokesman Scott Alonso said. Between 1977 and 2014, 43 wild animals and one domestic animal tested positive for rabies in the county, Alonso said. The most recent domestic animal that tested positive for rabies was a cat in 2013, Alonso said. The 43 wild animal rabies cases included three skunks, a fox and 39 bats.

Rabies is rare but it is almost always fatal to humans and animals. It is spread from the bite of a rabid animal or when the saliva of a rabid animal contacts a person’s mouth, eyes or an open sore, Alonso said. Deputy Health Officer Dr. Karen Holbrook said making sure pets and domestic animals have had rabies vaccinations, and also preventing pets and children from touching wild or strange animals are simple steps to protect family members from rabies.

Animals that are sick, injured, dead, orphaned or those acting oddly should be left alone and reported to Sonoma County Animal Services at (707) 565-1700 or 565-2121 after hours.