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Girl May Have Touched Rabid Bat

June 29, 1996

IRVINE — County health officials are looking for a little girl who might have come in contact Wednesday with a rabid bat at the Wild Rivers water park in Irvine.

The girl, who appeared to be about 10, has long, blond hair and was wearing a one-piece bathing suit when she was seen touching the bat at the park's wave-maker pool between 2 and 3 p.m., health officials said.

Officials suspect the bat might have been rabid. Eight rabid bats have been discovered in Orange County since early 1995, and the creatures are the only animal found locally with rabies since 1980, according to Dr. Hildy Meyers of the Orange County Health Care Agency.

Rabies is spread by the saliva of infected animals and can cause a life-threatening infection of the central nervous system in humans, Meyers said. A series of vaccinations can effectively end the threat of a rabies exposure.

Anyone with information about the girl is asked to call public health officials at (714) 834-8180. After business hours or on weekends, call animal control officials at (714) 935-6848.

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