DENVER (KDVR) — Health officials are warning Summit County residents to avoid contact with bats after a rabies-positive bat bit an out-of-state visitor in Keystone.

On July 25, a Keystone visitor went to a local emergency room after being bitten by a bat. Summit County Animal Control tested the bat and confirmed it was positive for rabies.

The Summit County government said the victim received treatment quickly to prevent rabies and is expected to be OK. The victim is now back in their home state and continuing treatment.

Summit County confirmed this is the first rabies incident of the year.

Now, health officials are warning residents to watch out for bats.

“A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground, or is unable to fly is more likely than others to be rabid,” according to Amy Wineland, Summit County Public Health director. “Finding a bat hanging under the eaves of a house, under a porch overhang or hidden behind shutters or gutters is normal. However, you should not touch them. If there’s any chance that you, your child or your pet has encountered a bat, contact us as soon as possible by calling 970-668-9161.”

Rabies is a serious disease that can be deadly if not treated immediately. Humans can be exposed as a result of a bite or scratch by an infected animal.

Summit County provided the following tips on how to avoid rabies exposure:

  • Avoid any contact with any wild animals, especially any that act unusual
  • Report any animal acting strangely to the nonemergency dispatch number at 979-668-8600
  • Thoroughly wash any wound caused by an animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately
  • Keep vaccinations current for all dogs and cats
  • If a person or a pet has been bitten or exposed to a bat, please call the Summit County Public Health Department at 970-668-9161
  • If you come into contact with a dead bat, place a container over it and call animal control so an officer can collect it for rabies testing

According to Summit County, bats and skunks make up the majority of rabies cases in Colorado.