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King County health officials say a sick bat found on the beach at Madison Park in Seattle has tested positive for rabies, prompting them to send a public health alert.

Anyone who touched or had contact with the bat or its saliva could be at risk for developing rabies, which is almost always fatal once symptoms begin, say health officials.

The bat was found on Monday, July 15 under a tree at a public beach at the south end of the park, located at E Madison Street and E Howe Street.

If you, your child or your pet had any contact -- touched, or were bitten, scratched or had contact with saliva -- with a bat at Madison Park on July 14th or 15th, please call us immediately, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Chief of Communicable Disease for Public Health - Seattle & King County. We will give you information about how to get treatment.

For more information, call the public health hotline at 206-296-4949 (press option #2 then option #5).

Pets could have been exposed as well. Dogs, cats and ferrets should be currently vaccinated against rabies, but if they were exposed, they should be re-vaccinated by a veterinarian immediately and kept under the owner's control and observed for 45 days.

For more information about bats and rabies, and how to safely avoid bats, visit: http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/communicable/diseases/bats.aspx

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