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Bat rabies

Although very few bats carry rabies, it is possible to be exposed to the rabies virus from a bat bite or scratch. Bat teeth and claws are very small and sharp and may result in bites or scratches that may not be visible. The use of the rabies vaccine is extremely effective to prevent rabies illness in humans after an exposure, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and consult your local health unit if you have been in physical contact with a bat.

Rabies has been well controlled in raccoons, foxes, and other animals by dropping bait that contains the rabies vaccine. Rabies cannot be controlled in bats because they cannot be vaccinated using baits.

  • Avoid any contact with bats.
  • Be cautious and assume that any bat you see is rabid.
  • Warn children to stay away from bats and ask them to tell you if they have had contact with bats.
  • Keep your pet's rabies vaccination up to date. They may come in contact with rabid bats too.
  • Take extra precautions when entering bat habitats (such as attics, caves, and abandoned buildings).
  • If there has not been contact with the bat:

            - Do not try to capture the bat.
            - Do not disturb the bat. Open a window and allow the bat to exit on its own.

  • Seek medical attention immediately to assess the need for post-exposure vaccination.
  • Report the exposure to your local public health unit.
  • If the bat is available for testing, try to keep the bat contained. Avoid further contact with the bat. Call a pest control company or wildlife service to have it humanely captured for testing. Contact your local public health unit to arrange for the bat to be tested for rabies.
  • Take the animal to a vet clinic to be assessed and vaccinated.
  • Your veterinarian may discuss the need to have the bat tested for rabies.

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