A 34-year-old man died in Switzerland this summer from rabies contracted from a bat in Contra Costa County — the first such death traced to the county in nearly 20 years, officials announced Friday.
The man, whose name has not been released, became ill before leaving the United States to work overseas. He died in a hospital in July, according to Contra Costa Health Services.
Tests confirmed rabies as the cause of death.
The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was notified of the death in late August and launched an investigation. It concluded the man had probably been infected in March after touching a bat in southern Contra Costa County, said Erika Jenssen, head of Contra Costa Public Health's communicable disease program.
"Tragically, this man died from rabies," Jenssen said. "It's critical that people who have been bitten by bats or wild animals seek medical attention immediately."