A bat infected with rabies was found on the garage floor of a Costa Mesa home, according to authorities.
A 15-year-old boy got the live bat in a box without touching it May 5 and later received treatment, the Costa Mesa Police Department said.
Because the bat was found in a confined area in the 2300 block of Vanguard Way, the public wasn’t exposed, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA).
Orange County Animal Care was notified that day, and OCHCA officials said they were notified two days later.
Authorities said the boy’s family was recommended a course of action because of his possible exposure to the virus.
Rabies is transmitted by animal bites through saliva. Most human cases in the U.S. result from bat strains of rabies, possibly because bats have such small teeth and their bites can go unnoticed, according to the OCHCA.
Those bitten can immediately get vaccinations to ward off illness but once someone shows signs of rabies, the disease is often fatal, officials said.
Health officials advise people to sleep with windows and doors closed, if they do not have screens, avoid contact with wild animals, do not leave pet food outside and vaccinate pets against rabies. For more information, visit the Orange County Animal Care website at ocpetinfo.com.
Bats are the most common animals to test positive for rabies in Orange County, and a rabid bat isn’t uncommon, although this incident was the first report of a rabid bat in the Newport-Mesa area since early 2012.
In 2011, OCHCA tested 116 bats from Orange County and 11 were positive for rabies. In 2012, 100 bats from Orange County were tested and 14 tested positive for rabies.
So far this year there have been four rabid bats reported countywide, OCHCA officials said.
Human infection in the U.S. is exceedingly rare with two or fewer cases reported each year, officials said. There hasn’t been a case of human infection in Orange County for many years.