NEWMARKET – York Region Health Services warns residents to be cautious around bats after receiving confirmation that a bat has tested positive for rabies in Thornhill. This is the second reported case of rabies in bats in York Region in 2005.
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 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, leave the room, close the door, and contact a Wildlife Removal Company and Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 (toll free). 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).