August 09, 2002
NEWMARKET – York Region Health Services warns residents to be cautious around bats after receiving confirmation that a bat has tested positive for rabies in the Town of Markham, near the intersection of Kennedy Road and Sixteenth Avenue. There were two reported cases of rabies in bats in York Region in 2001.
Rabies is a viral infection transmitted in the saliva of infected animals. The virus enters the central nervous system of the host, and once symptoms appear it is almost always fatal. A post-exposure vaccine is available in the event of contact with a rabid animal.
Bats are natural pest control operators in that they can eat three times their weight in insects every night. They are, however, wild animals and as such they 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, it is best to contact a professional pest control company.
Although most animal bites are readily apparent, bites inflicted by bats on a sleeping person may not be felt or leave any visible bite marks. If you suspect that you may have been bitten by a bat or discover the presence of a bat in a sleeping quarter it is important that you report this to both your family doctor and York Region Health Services immediately.
If you have questions about rabies or need to report a suspected rabid animal, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free).
Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services
Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region