COSTA MESA ( — A bat found in the garage of a Costa Mesa home has tested positive for rabies.

A 15-year-old boy found the animal alive on the floor of the garage on May 5 and managed to get it into a box before officials were called.

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The city’s animal control officers say they were initially told the teenager did not touch the animal.

However, Costa Mesa Police Lt. Greg Scott said the boy’s mother called authorities two days later to say her son had touched the bat.

He received precautionary treatment for the viral infection but authorities say he is okay.

Humans typically contract rabies from an animal bite but the disease can also be transmitted from saliva and scratches. Bats also have small teeth and officials warn bites can go unnoticed.

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The World Health Organization reports rabies is nearly always fatal in humans when symptoms develop. The incubation period is typically one to three months.

Southern California residents are meanwhile being warned to avoid contact with wild and potentially rabid animals, to vaccinate pets and not to sleep with unscreened windows open or leave pet food outside.

A spokesperson for Orange County Health Care Agency said four bats have tested positive for rabies in Orange County this year.

Anyone who believes they have been bitten should wash the area immediately and see a doctor. Treatment soon after exposure can prevent the onset of symptoms and death, the WHO reports.

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