Middlesex Bat Tests Positive For Rabies

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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The Middlesex-London Health Unit has received its first rabies positive bat report of the year. This is the time of year when bat sightings are most frequent and local public health officials are reminding residents what to do if they encounter one. Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus and when left untreated is fatal to humans.

People may become infected with rabies when bitten by a rabid bat or when a rabid bat's saliva comes into contact with broken skin or moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. If either type of exposure occurs the area should be washed thoroughly and medical advice should be sought immediately.

People are also considered to be at risk when one of the following occurs:

* a bat lands on a person;

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* a sleeping person awakes and finds a bat in the room; or

* a bat is found in the room of an unattended child or person unable to report whether they had direct contact with the bat.

These are considered exposures because bats have sharp needle-like teeth that may cause a relatively painless bite that leaves no obvious marks. It is not considered an exposure if a bat is flying nearby, a bat (or bats) are seen in the attic, bat guano (feces), blood, or urine are found or a bat has touched an object such as a lampshade or table top.

Whenever possible, the bat should be safely captured and the Health Unit notified at 519-663-5317, ext. 8531, or, after hours at 519-675-7523. The Health Unit will make arrangements to submit the bat for rabies testing. If a bat is found to be rabid or a bat is not available for testing, exposed persons will be advised to be vaccinated against rabies.

Unvaccinated pets are also at risk if they come in contact with an infected bat. Please remember to keep your pet’s vaccination against rabies up to date.

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