Loudoun County health officials believe several teenage girls were potentially exposed to rabies when they handled a bat last week in a Sterling park.

Officials received reports that the girls handled an injured or dead bat at the Potomack Lakes Sportsplex, in the 20280 block of Cascades Parkway, on July 23, said Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the county health department. The bat is not confirmed to have rabies, but it’s possible. Health officials urge the girls to contact them or to see a doctor.

“We don’t know in this case that the bat was rabid but there is that possibility,” Goodfriend said in a telephone interview.

Rabies is a potentially deadly disease, if untreated, in both humans and animals, officials said.

Goodfriend added that people should be wary of encounters with animals in the wild, as any bite could be dangerous, due to rabies or other diseases.

“It’s an opportunity to remind people that if an animal’s wild, stay away from it,” Goodfriend said.

Anyone with information or concerns is asked to call Loudoun health officials at 703-771-5829.