An east valley girl was bitten by a rabid bat last weekend and this is the first confirmed case in Maricopa County.
The child received post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies and is expected to be okay. Authorities did not release her name, the exact location of where she was bitten or the species of bat.
"Although it does not appear that this child was playing with the bat, every year we have school-aged children who voluntarily come into contact with bats. It is important that parents and teachers remind students never to touch a bat -- dead or alive," said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health.
In 2011, Maricopa County had five rabid animals confirmed with rabies: three bats, one bobcat and one javelina. Officials say that's the fewest in more than 10 years.
In Arizona, rabies commonly occurs in bats, skunks and foxes -- but any mammal can contract the disease. Rabies symptoms include aggressive and unusual behavior, which include no fear of people or pets and nocturnal animals active in the daytime.
Maricopa County Public Health's recommended precautions against rabies: