County officials asking for help identifying mud run participant who handled rabid bat

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County health officials said today they want to identify a Del Mar Mud Run participant who reported a bat landed on him during the event last weekend, because the flying mammal subsequently tested positive for rabies.

The bat was captured during the Oct. 4 event at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and was submitted to the county for testing.

County health officials said they are concerned because the runner and other people may have directly handled the rabid bat. Usually, rabies is transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, but in rare cases the virus can spread when saliva from a rabid animal comes in contact with someone’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.

Anyone who knows the identity of the runner who discovered the bat or anyone else who believes they were potentially exposed are urged to contact HHSA as soon as possible at (619) 692-8499.

”The health and safety of this runner, and others who were potentially exposed, is our main concern,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. ”We want to make absolutely sure that no participants or observers were potentially exposed to this deadly disease.”

Symptoms of rabies in people can take weeks to months to develop after exposure to a rabid animal has occurred. The HHSA said that once symptoms develop, rabies is almost always fatal. However, prompt post-exposure treatment following exposure to the virus will prevent the disease.

Event participants and observers that had no contact with the bat are not at risk for rabies.

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