August 25, 2017: Public Health has been informed that a dead bat found in the Guelph area has tested positive for rabies. There was no human contact with the bat but an unvaccinated dog was potentially exposed and is under confinement at home for three months. This is a reminder to stay away from all wildlife, including bats and stray cats and dogs. Pet owners should also vaccinate their dogs and cats for rabies.
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.
If you come across a dead bat on your property, wear gloves and use caution to pick it up and place it in a sealed container. If you see a live bat that is acting suspicious or looks sick, call animal control services. If there is concern that a human has been directly exposed to the bat, contact Public Health. For concern about a domestic animal that has been directly exposed to the bat, contact your local veterinarian.
“This is the first official report of rabid wildlife in the Guelph area since 2012. Protect yourself and your family by vaccinating all pets and staying away from wildlife,” said Jessica Morris, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s Manager of Environmental Health.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, or have been in contact with a suspicious animal and are concerned that you may have been exposed to rabies, contact your physician immediately or go to a hospital emergency department. Report the animal bite or scratch to Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4753. On evenings and weekends, call 1-877-884-8653.
If your dog or cat has been bitten or scratched by, or otherwise come in contact with, a suspicious animal, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
For more information about rabies, visit wdgpublichealth.ca/rabies.
Chuck Ferguson, Communications Manager
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4374