Public health department confirms bat found in Burlington park was rabid


Published November 20, 2023 at 10:04 am

A bat found in a Burlington park last month has tested positive for rabies.

Halton Region Public Health has confirmed the bat found at LaSalle Park in Burlington on Oct. 9 has tested positive for rabies.

Any resident or their pet who may have had direct contact with this bat or any other suspicious wild animals around this location and date should seek medical or veterinarian attention immediately.

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, cat, fox, or other wild animal, usually through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans is exceedingly rare, and can be prevented by the use of a rabies vaccine following exposure, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

Although rabies in bats is uncommon, bites from rabid bats have caused almost all human cases of rabies in Canada. 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, as 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 report a wild animal that you suspect may have rabies, follow the steps here.

When exposed to a bat or any other animal you believe is sick:

  • Call Animal Control Services. Do not touch dead or sick animals with bare hands.
  • Collect the contact information of the animal’s owner/custodian where applicable (their name, address and phone number).
  • Immediately wash all bite or scratch wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • Report all animal bites or scratches to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
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