APPLE VALLEY, Caliph. – There have been nine confirmed bats in San Bernardino County including four within the past two weeks in Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana and Apple Valley. San Bernardino County Public Health is urging the public to protect themselves and their pets from interactions with unfamiliar, stray or wild animals.
“Rabies is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms begin,” said Dr. Erin Gustafson, Interim County Health Officer. “It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for any animal bites or possible exposure to rabies.”;
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common wild rabies reservoirs are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats, livestock and dogs are rabid pets most commonly reported in the United States. Rabies among pets is rare with animal vaccination programs.
Prevent exposure to rabies by following the tips below:
- Do not touch, feed, harass or provide shelter for any unknown pets, wildlife or stray animals.
- Vaccinate pets against rabies. Dogs are required to be vaccinated for rabies at the age of four months. Cats can be vaccinated from the age of twelve to sixteen weeks. The first rabies vaccine is effective for one year. After that initial goal, pets should be revaccinated every three years.
- Get pets sprayed or destroyed.
- Do not allow pets to roam for free.
- Keep compost bins tightly covered and remember to store any food outside.
- House offense by closing small openings and keeping unsolicited doors and windows closed.
- Teach children never to turn to unfamiliar animals and immediately tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you are exposed to or bitten by an animal.
- Report any bites or scratches from a pet or wild animal to the animal control agency in the area where the bite / scratch occurred.
- Report the dead bats immediately to the animal control agency where the animal is located.
- do NOT try to touch or restrain stray or wild animals.
San Bernardino County Animal Welfare and Control (ACC) provides services in all uninterrupted areas of the county, except the unaccompanied West End communities, as well as the cities of Big Bear Lake, Highland and Yucaipa. Residents living outside the ACC service areas can check the list of other animal control agencies providing services in the county.
For more information, contact the San Bernardino County Animal Care and Control Services at 1-800-472-5609.