Bat tests positive for rabies

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting that a bat has tested positive for rabies. The bat was found in the vicinity of Sauble-Spanish River on August 10, 2020. The incident has resulted in one person requiring rabies prophylaxis and vaccine series.

While bats are very helpful in keeping insect populations in check, it is important to be aware of a few simple precautions to protect yourself against rabies.

If left untreated, rabies is fatal in humans. People can become infected with rabies when they are bitten or scratched by a rabid bat or when a rabid bat’s saliva comes into contact with broken skin or moist tissues in the mouth, nose, or eyes.

Rabid bats are rarely aggressive. A bat may be rabid if it is active by day, if it is found in a place where bats are not usually seen, or if it is unable to fly. These bats are often easily approached, but should never be touched.

A bat has sharp, needle-like teeth that may cause a relatively painless, unnoticeable bite. If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, or if saliva from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and consult a health care provider.

“We strongly encourage anyone who is bitten or scratched by animals to consult a health care provider and to report the incident to Public Health as soon as possible,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

The best way to prevent coming in contact with bats is to keep them out of your home or cottage by covering all outside points of entry.

The best time for bat-proofing is in the fall when most bats have left to hibernate. Bat-proofing involves:

  • Filling holes in the building’s exterior—even those as small as one-quarter to half an inch in diameter. For example, filling plumbing fixture holes with caulk or steel wool.
  • Tightening screens, capping the chimney, and placing draft guards under doors leading to the attic and outside.
  • Watching where the bats exit at dusk and then permanently sealing the openings.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is also reminding cat and dog owners of the requirement to keep their pet’s rabies vaccinations up to date.

For more information on bats and rabies, please call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200, ext. 464, toll-free 1.866.522.9200, or visit our website at phsd.ca. For help with bat-proofing, contact a pest management company.

This item was last modified on August 14, 2020