May 21, 2010
Media Release

Bat tests positive for the rabies virus in York Region


NEWMARKET
– The Regional Municipality of York warns residents to be cautious around bats after receiving confirmation that a bat has tested positive for rabies in the Town of Georgina. 
 
Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans.  Rabies is transmitted when there is contact with the saliva of an infected animal through a bite, lick or scratch.  A post-exposure vaccine is available for humans in the event of contact with a rabid animal.
 
Although the percentage of rabies in bats is low across Ontario, bats are wild animals and 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.
 
Bats in the home can be a nuisance and potential hazard to you and your family.  Bats are also capable of transmitting rabies to humans and other animals.  Please follow these instructions:
• If you suspect you may have been bitten or had contact with a bat, it is important to report this to both your family doctor and York Region Community and Health Services immediately
• If you discover a bat outdoors that is injured, acting strange or dead, do not touch it
• If you discover a live bat in your home, leave the room, close the door and contact a Wildlife Removal Company – do not touch a bat with your bare hands
• As bats can transmit the rabies virus to domestic pets such as dogs and cats, it is important to ensure pet vaccinations are up to date
• If you suspect your pets or livestock have come into contact with a rabid animal, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at 905 513-2850
• Call York Region Community and Health Services Health Connection for information on how to bat proof your home or visit www.york.ca
 
For more information on this or any other health-related topics, contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 / After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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