by Anneli Rufus
Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli circulated an email yesterday warning his constituents about "the discovery of a rabid bat in the area of Sonoma Ave. and Hopkins. One cat has been placed in quarantine as well," Capitelli writes, forwarding an official Rabies Alert from the city's Health and Human Services Department, Environmental Health Division, which reads:
"A bat infected with the rabies virus has been found recently in your neighborhood. There may be other rabid bats still undiscovered. Report any bats acting in a strange manner in the daytime by calling City of Berkeley Animal Control Services. ... DO NOT TOUCH OR ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN OR PETS TO COME INTO CONTACT WITH THE ANIMAL."
An attached rabies-protection pamphlet explains that "rabies is found in most counties in California including Alameda County. Alameda County has been declared a 'Rabies Area' since 1958. Rabies is a deadly virus disease which affects the nervous system. Once symptoms start in an infected human being it is uniformly fatal. There is NO KNOWN CURE. Rabies is transmitted in the saliva of infected warm-blooded animals (mammals) through mucous membranes or any break in the skin by biting, licking or scratching. Animals at high risk for carrying rabies are skunks, bats, dogs that have not been vaccinated against rabies, foxes, coyotes, badgers, weasels, raccoons, and wild and unvaccinated domestic cats." Watch out, the pamphlet warns, for:
"1. A skunk roaming or staggering in daylight.
"2. A bat hanging on a window screen or sill.
" 3. A grey fox acting in an aggressive manner in the daytime."