The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) wishes to inform residents that a bat in the EOHU region has tested positive for rabies. While there have been no reported human cases, the presence of rabies in the bat indicates a potential risk within the region. The EOHU emphasizes the importance of understanding the dangers associated with rabies and urges residents to take necessary precautions to avoid potential exposure.
Rabies is a fatal neurological disease found in mammals, including bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. It can also be transmitted to humans and pets. The primary mode of transmission is through bites, but contact with the infected animal’s saliva entering open wounds, eyes, or mouth can also spread the virus. It is crucial to note that rabies is almost always fatal if treatment is not administered before symptoms appear.
While rabies poses a significant threat, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure to animals that may carry the virus. The EOHU recommends the following precautions:
- Keep your pets’ and livestock’s rabies vaccinations up to date.
- Supervise your pets and refrain from letting them wander unsupervised.
- Educate children about the importance of avoiding contact with unfamiliar animals, both wild and domesticated.
- Exercise caution and avoid contact with wild animals, especially if they display abnormal behavior or appear sick.
- Safeguard your home against bats.
- Refrain from attempting to rescue sick or injured wildlife; instead, contact Animal Control or a wildlife rehabilitator.
- Promptly report all animal bites to the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120.
Encountering Bats in Your Home:
If you discover a live bat inside your residence, it is advisable to confine it to a room by turning off the lights and opening a window, allowing it to escape. Refrain from attempting to capture and release the bat yourself, as this may increase the risk of being bitten. If the bat refuses to leave on its own, seek assistance from a pest management company.
If a bat is found in a bedroom, whether alive or deceased, it is essential to visit your local emergency room immediately, especially if the bat is discovered in a child’s room. Bites from bats can be particularly dangerous, as their teeth are needle-sharp and may not leave visible marks, making it challenging to determine if a bite has occurred.
If you suspect that you or your family has been bitten by a bat or any other animal, promptly contact your doctor, healthcare provider, or local emergency room. Report the incident to the EOHU at 613-933-1375 or 1-800-267-7120. The EOHU will investigate the situation and assess the need for post-exposure treatment.
For additional information on bats, rabies, and preventive measures, please visit EOHU.ca. Your diligence in taking precautions against rabies is greatly appreciated for the well-being of our community.