San Diego officials are searching for a woman who flew around her after being exposed to a rabbit bat at a local zoo, possibly infecting her and another visitor.
According to the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, the bat was spotted flying around the unidentified woman at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park near Escondido on Sunday morning.
Balla, who is not one of the zoo animals, was later caught and found to be infected with rabies.
Now the hunt for the woman continues, and another man who may have come in direct contact with the rabbit animal, amid fears they were exposed to the deadly virus.
Visitors to the zoo saw the bat flying around the woman at Mombasa Cooker, a restaurant in the Nairobi Village area of the park, around 11:30 am on Sunday.
An employee of the park grabbed the bat and handed it over to county health officials, who confirmed that the bat was stiff.
Health officials are now seeking the public’s help in locating the woman leaving the park without providing contact information.
“We are concerned about the health of this woman and any park patrons who were in direct contact with the bat,” said Eric Macdonald, medical director of the county Epidemiology and Immunization Services branch.
‘We want to make sure that they are not exposed to this potentially deadly disease.’
Officials reassured other zoo visitors who had not been exposed to the bat that they were not at risk of contracting rabies.
Rabies is a deadly virus that spreads to humans from the saliva of rabbit animals, including bats, foxes and raccoons.
It is usually transmitted through a bite, but can also be passed through saliva from an animal exposed to a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or open wound.
The virus is fatal if not treated after infection and before symptoms develop.
It attacks the central nervous system, eventually leading to disease in the brain and death.
This latest encounter is the latest in a string of incidents where crazy bats have been detected in both the zoo and the wider county.
This year alone, four other rabid mice have been detected in San Diego County.
In April 2017, a crazy bat was detected at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
This came in September 2016 after another detection in the park and in 2015 a dead rabid bat was found.
Anyone who knows the identity of the woman who may have been exposed, or who was in the park and believes they were potentially in contact with the bat, immediately San Diego Health and Human Services Agency County (619) 692 It is urged to call -8499.