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    Happy World Rabies Day! US Officials Hunt for Persons Exposed to Rabid Bat

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    Just one day after putting out an alert for a woman who handled a rabid bat at a California Target store last week, California's Sacramento County Division of Public Health announced on Friday that they were able to contact their person of interest.

    The division indicated that after they contacted the woman, authorities were able to obtain new information that is "leading [their] search to others who may have seen the bat or handled the bat."

    Brenda Bongiorno, communication and media officer for Sacramento County, told the Sacramento Bee on Friday that the bat had been found by the unidentified woman in the parking lot of a Target in Rancho Cordova on September 19.

    "From what I understand, it was in a parking lot, and she didn't want others to touch it." Bongiorno told the publication. "And so, when she went in to scoop it up, she doesn't know during that time if somebody touched it."

    After wrangling the bat, the woman then went into the establishment and handed the bat over to (likely) shocked Target employees, who subsequently called on animal control to handle the matter. It was later determined that the bat had rabies.

    Although not everyone who touches a rabies-positive animal will need treatment, Bongiorno stressed that the state is taking every precaution in wanting to speak with others to find out what took place that fateful day.

    Rabies is most commonly transmitted through the bite and saliva of an infected host, according to the Sacramento division. "All species of mammals are susceptible to rabies virus infection. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort," the release from the Public Health division explains.

    "Seeing [bats] in twilight hours, swooping down and feeding on bugs during the day, that's normal behavior," the official said, urging persons to be aware of animals that might be in distress and therefore not behaving typically. Animals infected with rabies suffer symptoms such as lethargy, aggressiveness, change in behavior and trouble walking.

    Anyone who might've come in contact with the Target bat are urged to immediately reach out to the Sacramento County Public Health's 24-hour line at 916-875-5881.


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