A dead bat found near the 99 Cent Store on May 24 at the northeast corner of Chino Hills Parkway and Pipeline Avenue tested positive for rabies.
The Mexican free-tailed bat, common to the area, was tested by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health the day it was found, said Diana Ibrahim, program coordinator for the communicable disease section.
“Anybody who picked up the bat in the shopping center needs to contact us,” Ms. Ibrahim said.
The phone number is provided on the flier: 1-800-722-4794.
She said bats with rabies can transmit the virus to their fur when grooming.
If a person with a cut on his finger picks up a dead bat, the virus can still be alive and transmitted through the open wound, Ms. Ibrahim said.
She said a highly effective vaccine can be administered in four doses along with antibiotics after a person has been bit or has handled a bat with rabies.
Rabies exposure alert fliers were placed on the 99 Cent Store windows and around the shopping center because it’s a communal area.
The second bullet point reads: “rabies is almost always fatal.”
Ms. Ibrahim said the flier carries the warning because rabies attacks the central nervous system, including the brain.
“It really is nearly 100 percent fatal, so we want to make sure we’re communicating with people who had contact with the bat,” she said.
She said it’s important that residents do not pet a wild animal.
Rabies has been found in a skunk and fox in the past several years.
The person who found the bat contacted the Inland Valley Humane Society but did not remain at the location, according to Humane Officer Faviola Leon. She said bat calls are considered an emergency and an officer responded right away. The bat was handled properly and taken to the San Bernardino County Public Health Department lab on Holt Boulevard in Ontario, she said.
Ms. Leon said anybody who finds a bat should contact the Inland Valley Humane Society as soon as possible. They are encouraged to stand by until the officer arrives for further information.
The Humane Society can be reached at 623-9777, ext. 602 or 594-9858 after 5:30 p.m.