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Rabid bat found in bougie San Francisco neighborhood

Pedestrians walking on a street in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.
The bat was retrieved from the corner of Fulton and Gough streets on Sept. 21 in Hayes Valley. | Source: Camille Cohen/The Standard

A rabid live bat was found in San Francisco’s bougie Hayes Valley neighborhood by Department of Animal Care and Control staffers. 

The bat was retrieved from the corner of Fulton and Gough streets on Sept. 21. After it was captured, the bat tested positive for rabies on Sept. 26. A health advisory notice from The San Francisco Department of Public Health was then posted to alert residents on Sept. 27. 

Rabies in humans can kill after putting the infected person in a coma, health officials said. The notice urges anyone who may have come into contact with the bat to call the health department at 415-554-2830 and follow prompts to get the on-call physician on the line. The notice also warns residents whose pets may come into contact with the bat to dial the number.

Victims should try to get rabies shots as soon as possible after exposure, and no one should try to come into contact with bats or similar wild animals, officials said. Anyone who finds a bat they think is sick or dead should call animal-control staff at 415-554-9400.

A post from a Hayes Valley Safe social media account shows a city public health advisory flyer.

The health advisory for Hayes Valley ended on Oct. 4 and added that no human or animal exposures had been reported so far. 

Rabies is a preventable viral disease and is usually transmitted from a rabid animal bite or by saliva contact with a person’s mouth, eyes or open wound. 

“San Francisco has not had rabies in a land mammal for almost a century, but we do see bats with rabies a few times a year,” Animal Control spokesperson Deb Campbell said. “Our [officers] will post signs near where bats that have tested positive were found on/near the street. On the very off chance that anyone handled a sick bat, they should immediately seek medical attention.”

Hayes Valley has become synonymous with San Francisco’s Artificial Intelligence boom. Its so-called “hacker houses” are stacked with coders working in the AI sphere. The neighborhood earned the nickname Cerebral Valley around early 2023.