Public warned to avoid bats as two confirmed cases of rabies found in GTA

Aug 9 2019, 7:29 am

Two bats have been found with rabies in Halton region.

According to the Halton Region Health Department, on August 7, a bat found in the area of Upper Middle Road and Cavendish Drive in Burlington and a bat found in the area of Lakeshore Road and Bronte Road in Oakville both tested positive for rabies.

These are the first two confirmed cases of rabies in Halton this year.

“The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with bats and other wild animals,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Anyone who comes in physical contact with a bat or other wild animal should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department.”

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, stated the health department.

The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering the body through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans can be prevented after exposure to rabies by the use of the rabies vaccine, which is extremely effective, but only if it is taken before symptoms occur.

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“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,” said the Halton Health Department.

The health department advises residents to do a number of things to protect family and pets:

  • Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk, bat, or other potentially rabid animals.
  • Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.
  • Warn children to stay away from any wild, stray, or aggressive animals.
  • Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.
  • Do not touch dead or sick animals.
  • 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 raccoon or other wild animal.

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