The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) warns residents to be cautious if they find a bat inside their homes or outside. A bat collected as part of the EOHU’s rabies monitoring program tested positive for the disease.
The test result indicates that rabies is present in the region among some species of wild animal. There are no human cases of rabies at present.
Precautions against rabies
Rabies is a neurological disease that can prove fatal. It is most often found among bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes, but other animals like coyotes and wolves may also get the disease. Humans and domestic pets can also become infected.
The disease is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animals. A bite from a rabid animal is the most common means of infection. Saliva that gets into an already open wound or in the mouth or eyes can also pass on the disease. The disease can be fatal if not treated immediately.
If a bat is found inside a building, trap it inside a room with the lights turned off and a window left open so it can go outside. Do not try to catch it and avoid touching it. If the bat avoids efforts to move it into a room or to leave, call a pest control company for help.
Do not touch or pick up a bat found dead inside the house or outside in the yard or woods. Call animal control and the EOHU.
The EOHU urges residents to make sure that rabies vaccinations are up to date for any pets and livestock. Pets should not be allowed to wander unsupervised and children should be taught not to touch any pets they do not know and to avoid touching wild animals.
Avoid any wild animal which appears sick or exhibits strange behaviour, including unexpected aggressiveness. Contact the local animal control office instead. If bitten, get medical treatment right away and also call the EOHU at 1-800-267-7120. More information on bats and rabies is at www.eohu.ca.