The Health Unit is looking to raise awareness about bats and rabies. Bats typically have their babies in June and come August many of the young bats are looking for their own roosting sites. Many bats will roost and hibernate in attics. Although bats are beneficial insect eaters, they can carry diseases such as rabies and histoplasmosis, which can affect humans and animals. They may also transmit distemper and mange to household pets.
Only about three percent of bats carry the rabies virus. The most common signs of rabies in bats are the inability to fly and resting in unusual places such as the ground or floor. It is important to remember many of the bats that get into our homes are healthy bats and are looking for a way out.
If you find a bat in your home, try to confine the bat to one room by closing the door of the room. Open a window or door to the outside and then turn out the lights; the bat should fly out early in the evening.
If you are bitten by a bat, wash the affected area thoroughly and get medical attention immediately.
Rabies can also affect pets; to protect your pet from rabies it is important to vaccinate them. Rabies vaccination is mandatory in Ontario for domestic cats and dogs. The Health Unit in Partnership with local Veterinarians and Municipalities will be holding the annual Rabies Clinics on September 10 and 17th. The cost is $20.00 per animal; please visit our website for more information.
For more information contact your local health unit or these websites:
Ministry of Natural Resources www.mnr.gov.on.ca
Bat Conservation International www.batcon.org
Public Health Agency of Canada www.phac-aspc.gc.ca