The Stockton Police Department is asking residents to be alert after a bat attacked a resident at their home last week.
In an informational post to its Facebook page, the police department said the resident was attacked around 12:30 p.m. last Friday while doing yard work.
“While bats are common in Stockton, this is concerning because it was in the middle of the afternoon, and bats are normally not aggressive,” the post said.
Tests are being conducted to determine if the bat had rabies, according to the post from July 12. Bats can carry rabies and any bite or scratch that breaks the skin could transmit the disease, according to information on bats from Utah State University.
Rabies is a fatal, but preventable disease, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system and cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death.
Early symptoms from rabies are very similar to those of the flu, with general weakness, fever, or headache, according to the CDC. The disease progresses to include symptoms such as delirium, abnormal behavior, hydrophobia and insomnia.
Once clinical signs of rabies are present, the disease is almost always fatal, according to the CDC. There have been less than 20 cases of human survival after clinical rabies has been documented.
If you are bitten or scratched by a bat or other wild mammal, you should immediately wash the wound with soap, water, and an antiviral antiseptic, according to USU information. Then you should seek medical attention, as a rabies vaccination may be required.
Stockton police recommend keeping away from any bats you may see during the day. Parents or guardians should keep an eye on children while they’re playing and pets should be vaccinated against rabies to help prevent the disease.