Lindsay area woman bitten by rabid bat
Published by Aug. 28, 2018
By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit is releasing tips on how to deal with bats and bat bites after a woman in the City of Kawartha Lakes was bitten by a rabid bat in her home.
The woman, who lives just outside Lindsay, was bitten by the bat while she slept. It was subsequently captured, and tested positive for rabies. According to the health unit, the woman was given vaccines following the incident and is recovering well.
While rare, bat bites may happen more often than some would think.
“It’s rare enough, but it does happen,” Richard Ovcharovich, manager of environmental health with the health unit, told the paper, adding there had been half a dozen reported bat bites in the health unit’s district this year.
“Some of them are in dwellings, and some of them are outside,” Ovcharovich said, explaining there are a few things people should keep in mind if they encounter one of the winged rodents.
“If you do see a bat, don’t touch it,” he said, explaining that if a bat is inside, the best thing to do is open a window and close the door to the room where the bat is, hoping it will find its way out of the building.
If the bat is obviously sick or displaying strange behaviour, such as biting itself, Ovcharovich recommends covering the animal with a trash can or something similar and calling a pest control company or wildlife removal company. Similarly, if a dead bat is discovered, it should not be touched.
Rabies, which is almost always fatal if left untreated, can be transmitted through a bat bite or scratch, to both human and animals. The virus affects the nervous system of warm-blooded animals.
Ovcharovich said the incident is also a reminder of getting pets vaccinated against rabies, even if those pets are indoor ones.
If you are bitten or suspect you have been bitten by a bat, Ovcharovich said to wash the wound right away to reduce the viral load, and then seek medical attention, as well as to report the incident to the heath unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.
If you have bats living on your property and want them removed, contact a pest control or wildlife removal company.
The health unit also recommends the bat-proofing of homes, which can be done by calling a specialized company, or done by one’s self by examining one’s home for holes where a bat might enter, and filling those holes with caulking. Bats can fit through openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch.