Halton Public Health confirms first rabid bat of the year found in Burlington

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Published June 12, 2023 at 4:22 pm

A rabid bat has been found in Burlington.

Halton Region Public Health confirmed that, last week, a bat tested positive for rabies with no known human contact.

The bat was found in Aldershot, a southwest neighbourhood of Burlington. This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in Halton Region this year.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord and, if untreated before symptoms appear, can lead to death.

The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal such as a raccoon, skunk, bat, dog, fox, or other wild animal, usually through a bite or scratch.

Rabies illness in humans can be prevented by the use of a rabies vaccine, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

Although rabies in bats is rare, bites from rabid bats have caused almost all human cases of rabies in Canada over the past several years.

Bats have small, needle-like teeth, and their bites easily go undetected. If you have been bitten, scratched or exposed to bat saliva, wash any wounds thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

It is not always possible to identify if a bat has rabies, however, rabid bats may move slowly, lose the ability to fly, remain active during daylight hours or be unresponsive to loud noises.

If you find a bat in your home, do not attempt to move it and contact your local Animal Control Services.

To help protect yourself, family and pets from exposure to rabies, here are some tips from Public Health:

  • Educate children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals
  • Do not touch, feed or move wildlife, including young, sick or injured animals
  • Avoid animals that are behaving strangely
  • If you find a stray animal, report it to your local Animal Control Services
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets
  • Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date
  • Keep your pet on a leash when off your property
  • Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a bat or other wild animal
  • Animal-proof your home by filling any holes that could allow animals to enter

For more information on rabies, contact Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.

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