September 2, 2004
There were 3 reported cases of rabies in bats in York Region in 2003.
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 or wildlife removal 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. Please follow these instructions:
· 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 Health Connection immediately.
· If you discover a bat outdoors and it is found to be either injured, acting strange or dead, do not touch it. Call Health Connection for further direction.
· If you discover a live bat in your home, contain it or cover it with a blanket and call Health Connection for further direction. Do not touch a bat with your bare hands.
· If you suspect that pets or livestock have come into contact with a rabid animal, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at 905-883-1600.
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). If you are calling outside of regular business hours ( Monday to Friday) contact the on-call Public Health Inspector at (905) 830-3375.
Contact: Michael Kemp,
905-830-4444 ext. 1232