The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reporting that a bat from the area has tested positive for rabies. The bat was tested as part of routine surveillance of rabies in animal populations, and the positive result implies that rabies is present in the region. No human cases have been reported in the area at this time. The EOHU is reminding residents of the dangers of rabies and to take precautions to keep you and your family safe.
Rabies is a deadly neurological disease in mammals, often found in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes, but can be passed to humans and pets as well. It is most often spread through bites but can also be passed through the saliva of an infected animals getting in your eyes, mouth, or other open wounds. Rabies is almost always fatal if treatment is not given before symptoms start.
While rabies is dangerous, there are steps you can take to limit your exposure to and contact with animals who may carry rabies. The EOHU recommends that you:
- Keep your pets’ and livestock’s rabies vaccinations up to date.
- Don’t let your pets wander unsupervised.
- Teach children not to touch wild animals or pets they don’t know.
- Avoid contact with wild animals – especially if they look sick or are behaving strangely.
- Bat-proof your home.
- Don’t try to rescue sick or injured wild animals – contact Animal Control or a wildlife rehabilitator. Report all animal bites to the EOHU at 613-9331375 or 1-800-267-7120.
Finding Bats in Your Home
If you find a live bat in your home, trap it in a room with the lights off and a window open, so it can escape. Do not try to catch and release the bat yourself, as this may result in a bite. If the bat will not leave on its own, contact a pest management company for assistance.
If a bat is found in a bedroom (alive or dead), please visit your local emergency room immediately to discuss next steps, especially if the bat is found in a child’s room. Bites from bats are particularly dangerous, as they have needle-sharp teeth which may not leave a mark after biting, and you may not know you have been bit.
If you think you or your family have been bitten by a bat or other animal, contact your doctor, health care provider or local emergency room immediately. Report the bite to the EOHU at 613933-1375 or 1-800-2677120. The EOHU will investigate and determine if you may require post exposure treatment.
More information on bats, rabies and prevention tips can be found at EOHU.ca