June 4, 2020: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health received notification of a positive rabies test in a bat on June 2. There was no human exposure reported at the time of the incident.
There were five rabid bats found in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph area in 2019. Two were in Guelph, one in Mount Forest, one in Rockwood, and one in East Garafraxa.
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 you don’t get vaccinated after being exposed,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. “Don’t touch a bat or try and catch one that you find in your home —call your local animal control agency. If anyone has direct contact with the bat, call your family doctor, or visit your local hospital emergency department immediately.”
Stay away from all wildlife, including bats, raccoons, foxes and stray cats and dogs. If you suspect an animal has rabies do not go near it. Contact your local animal control service or the police. Ensure pets are vaccinated against rabies and are supervised when outdoors.
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.
Danny Williamson, Communications Specialist
1-800-265-7293 ext. 4376