June 24, 2019: One person has been exposed to a bat that has tested positive for rabies.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is reminding the public that rabies is active in our area and people should avoid contact with wildlife to prevent contracting this deadly disease. Pet owners should also vaccinate their dogs and cats for rabies.
In 2018, two bats in Guelph tested positive for rabies. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry distributes rabies vaccine baits to curb the spread of the virus in wildlife; however, there is no vaccine or bait for bats.
“Rabies is a fatal disease if left untreated,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “If you encounter wildlife, such as a fox, raccoon, skunk or bat, avoid touching it. If you think you have been bitten or scratched, contact your physician immediately or go to a hospital emergency department.”
If you have a bat in your home, do not attempt to touch it or catch it—call your local animal control agency. If a person has had direct contact with the bat, call your family doctor, or visit your local hospital emergency department immediately.
If you suspect any animal has rabies, do not go near it. Contact your local animal control service or the police.
Rabies is a fatal virus that affects mammals, including humans, and is most commonly spread by wild animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite. However, saliva can also enter the body through scratches, open wounds or mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes.
For more information about rabies, visit wdgpublichealth.ca/rabies.
Contact: Jill Davies, Communications Specialist
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4376