Bat tests positive for rabies in Perth County

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A bat captured in South Easthope in Perth County on August 28 has tested positive for rabies.

It’s the first animal in Perth County to test positive for rabies in 2019, and the first bat to test positive for rabies since August of 2012.

In 2018, just one animal, a cow, from Perth County tested positive for rabies.

The health unit has submitted 10 bats for rabies testing in August.

“Bats are a concern because they can expose a person to rabies,” said Public Health Inspector Dale Lyttle. “We want residents to be prepared if they come across one in their home.”

People may become infected with rabies when bitten or scratched by a rabid bat, or when a rabid bat’s saliva comes into contact with broken skin or moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes. If left untreated, rabies is fatal in humans.

“It’s important to take the right steps when you have a bat in the house,” says Lyttle. “Ultimately, if you see a bat, try to stay away from it.”

If exposure does occur, wash the area thoroughly with soapy water, seek medical advice immediately, and then contact the health unit.

It is considered human exposure when:
There has been direct contact with a bat and a bite, scratch, or saliva exposure into a wound or mucous membrane cannot be ruled out
Direct contact with a bat is defined as the bat touching or landing on a person

If there has been human exposure, a risk assessment will be done to determine if rabies vaccine is needed.

It is not considered an exposure if:
a bat is flying nearby
you see a bat (or bats) in the attic
you find bat feces, blood or urine
a bat touches an object like a lampshade or tabletop and then you touch that object

If there has been human exposure and the bat is available for testing, call the health unit for further instructions on how to get the bat tested for rabies.