Authorities Thursday urged anyone who had physical contact with a bat near an Irvine park to contact the Orange County Health Care Agency to determine the risk for rabies.
A bat found Saturday on a picnic bench near a restroom at William Mason Regional Park tested positive for the rabies virus, officials said.
The virus "is found in an animal's saliva and is transmitted to people by a bite from a rabid animal," according to the health care agency.
By the time someone infected with the virus exhibits symptoms, the disease is "nearly always fatal," agency officials said.
"For that reason preventive treatment to stop the rabies virus from causing illness is given to anyone who may have been exposed to rabies," according to OCHCA.
Anyone who may have had contact with the bat found in the park was urged to call the HCA's Epidemiology Department at (714) 834-8180 during business hours, or at (714) 834-7792 after hours.