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Positive Rabid Bat Prompts Warning from Health Unit

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is warning residents to be cautious around bats after receiving confirmation that a bat tested positive for rabies in the Brighton area.

Rabies is almost always a fatal disease caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted when there is contact with the saliva of an infected animal through a bite, lick or scratch. A post-exposure vaccine is available for humans in the event of contact with a rabid animal.

Although the percentage of rabies in bats is low across Ontario, bats are wild animals and should not be approached or touched. Never try to catch a bat or keep one as a pet. If you have bats living on your property and want to remove them, contact a professional pest control company or wildlife removal company.

“Contact with bats, and all wild animals, should be avoided,” says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit.

Bats in the home can be a nuisance and potential hazard to you and your family. Bats are also capable of transmitting rabies to humans and other animals. Although most animal bites are readily apparent, bites inflicted by bats on, an infant, a child or those with cognitive impairments, may not be felt or leave any visible bite marks.

Please follow these instructions when it comes to bats:

• If you suspect you may have been bitten or had contact with a bat, report this to both your family doctor and the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577.

• If you discover a bat outdoors that is injured, acting strange or dead, do not touch it.

• If you are bitten or scratched by a bat that is discovered in your home, leave the room, close the door and contact a wildlife removal company. Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. If there was no human contact (bite or scratch) open a window and allow it to get out.

• As bats can transmit the rabies virus to domestic pets such as dogs and cats, ensure pet vaccinations are up to date.

• If you suspect your pets or livestock have come in contact with a rabid animal, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at 905-513-2850.

• Bat-proof the home. If bats are found in the home, the person should seek advice from an animal control or wildlife conservation authority

To learn more about rabies, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 and speak with a Public Health Inspector.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Chris Beveridge, Director, Environmental Health, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100.

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