The EOHU has detected a steady increase in bats afflicted with rabies over the past two years and is reminding residents of the dangers of the disease. The EOHU has sent a release informing the public of how to protect themselves, and what to do in the event of a possible exposure.
Avoid contact with unknown or wild animals, especially if they’re acting sick or strange, and take steps to bat-proof the home. Contact the EOHU if a bat is found in the home or if anyone comes into contact with one, either inside or outside. Vaccinate pets against rabies as soon to protect them and the family. Anyone bitten by a bat, or any other wild animal, should wash the wound with soap and water and then go to the hospital.
Children are vulnerable to the disease and should be taken to the hospital upon exposure to a bat, as they may not know if they have been bitten or scratched. Bat teeth are needle-thin and very sharp, and marks may not appear from a bat bite.
Rabies affects the brain and nervous system of infected mammals and results in death if untreated. Rabies takes two forms in animals, dumb and furious; symptoms of dumb rabies include lethargy, partial paralysis, or no fear of humans, and symptoms of furious rabies include aggression, foaming at the mouth, or gnawing at their own limbs. Rabies may be spread by foxes, skunks, racoons, and bats.
Rabies can be transmitted to humans, and although rare, such cases are fatal. A B.C. man contracted rabies from a bat in 2019, and the last human case of rabies in Ontario was in 2012. The risk of rabies incidents increases in the spring and summer as bats become more active in the warmer months.
Residents can visit EOHU.ca for more information on rabies awareness and prevention in the area.