Local Orange County health officials are alerting the public after a bat tested positive for rabies in Fountain Valley on Wednesday.

The infected bat was discovered in the parking lot of a pickleball court located near 16400 Brookhurst Street, according to the OC Health Care Agency.

Visitors are being asked to stay alert and avoid contact with any bats they may encounter in the area. 

The rabies virus is typically found in an animal’s saliva and transmitted through an animal bite. In rarer cases, contamination of an animal’s eyes, mouth or an open wound near saliva can also transmit the disease, according to HCA. 

Health officials say once a human begins exhibiting symptoms of a rabies infection, the case is typically fatal. Bats have small teeth and bites may go unnoticed by both pets and humans.

“For that reason, preventive treatment to stop the rabies virus from causing illness is given to anyone who may have been exposed to rabies,” HCA said. “Medical assistance should be obtained promptly after an exposure so any wound can be cleaned and preventive treatment can be started.”

The HCA and OC Animal Care recommend the following actions to minimize the risk of rabies:

  • Avoid all contact with wild animals.
  • Vaccinate all cats and dogs against rabies.
  • Do not sleep with open unscreened windows or doors.
  • If bats are seen inside the house or other structure, close off the area and contact animal control. Once the bat(s) have been removed, close off any areas allowing entrance into the house.
  • Do not leave pet food outside where it will attract wild animals.
  • Immediately wash all animal bites with soap and water, being sure to flush the wound well, then contact your doctor.
  • Report all animal bites and stray animals to OC Animal Care.

Anyone who may have physically encountered a bat is asked to contact the HCA Health Care Agency Communicable Disease Control Division at 714-834-8180.

To report a bat in your home, an animal bite, or a stray animal, contact OC Animal Care at 714-935-6848.

Read more about rabies and preventative measures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.