Maricopa County's first recorded rabid bat in 2012 bites girl in East Valley

PHOENIX - A school-aged girl was bitten by a rabid bat in the East Valley this week, making it the first rabid bat confirmed in Maricopa County this year, The Arizona State Public Health Laboratory said Friday.

The girl is said to be receiving treatment for rabies and is expected to recover from the bite.

According to a news release, the girl did not appear to be playing with the bat, but parents should remind their children to never get near a bat, dead or alive.

When symptoms appear in humans, rabies can become fatal, so if you come in contact with a rabid animal, medical attention should be sought immediately, according to the Maricopa Department of Public Health.

Five rabid animals, three bats, one bobcat and one javelina, were recorded in 2011. Officials said that the number recorded for last year was the fewest in more than 10 years.

The animals most commonly infected with rabies include bats, skunks and foxes, though any mammal could become infected.

Animals may become fearless to humans and show odd or aggressive behavior. The Department of Public Health says to be aware of nocturnal animals that become active during the day and bats that found on the ground or in water, or those who appear to have been caught by other animals.

Officials also warn Valley residents to make sure they keep up to date on their pets' rabies shots because rabid animals are known to be aggressive to other animals.

If you find an animal, don't try to touch it or rescue it in any way, the department said. Often times these animals may become abandoned if their mothers return or they may be infected.

If you find a dead animal, record the location and place a box over the animal to contain it. Be sure to leave the animal intact so animal control can test the animal for rabies.

For inquires about animals, contact animal control or the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

For more information on rabies, visit Maricopa County online .

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