Health authority seeks person who touched rabid bat in Stanley Park

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fruit bat bats / shutterstock

Vancouver Coastal Health are looking for an individual who handled a bat near Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon on Wednesday.

According to a release, the individual left information about the bat’s information, and since then tests have now confirmed that the bat is positive for rabies. The individual is asked to contact Coastal Health at 604-675-3900 to determine whether a vaccination is required.

As rabies is regularly found in British Columbia’s bat populations, the public is advised to avoid handling bats, Coastal Health warns. The disease attacks the central nervous system and is fatal if not immediately treated.

Infected bats can transmit the disease to humans when saliva comes in contact with a break in the skin or an individual’s mucus membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.

The small winged mammals are most active during this time of year, from July to September, as juveniles are being weaned.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a bat or another possibly rabid animal, Coastal Health advises thoroughly washing the bite or scratch with soap and water to flush the wound. Medical attention should also be sought immediately.

In addition, Coastal Health should be contacted to ensure the bat is available for disease testing. But any capturing or handling, even a dead bat, should be performed by wildlife experts.

Injured bats found in the Lower Mainland can be reported to the Wildlife Rescue Association at 604-526-7275.

The last time an individual in B.C. was infected with rabies from a bat was in 2003. Unfortunately, that case was fatal.

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