Kitchener-Waterloo

3 people treated for rabies exposure in Dufferin County

Three people are being treated for possible exposure to rabies after a rabid bat was found in their barn.

Rabid bat was found in family barn, health officials say

This photo shows an eastern pipistrelle bat, a species that is linked with human rabies cases. (Merlin D. Tuttle/Bat Conservation International/AP)

Three people are being treated for possible exposure to rabies after a rabid bat was found in their barn.

It's the first time a rabid bat has been confirmed in Dufferin County in nearly 30 years.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health officials said all three people that were exposed were part of the same family.

Health officials are reminding the public that if they come in contact with a bat indoors that they shouldn't touch it and should instead call a local animal control agency.

Anyone who has direct contact with a bat should call their doctor or visit an emergency room.

People who believe an animal is acting strangely should stay away from it, health officials added.

Rabies is a fatal virus that is spread by raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats through the saliva of an infected animal. That can happen through bites, scratches, open wounds or even mucous membranes near the mouth nose or eyes.

Health officials say rabid bats in Ontario are relatively rare. Last year, 31 bats tested positive for rabies in Ontario.

Since 2017, a total of three rabid bats have been found in the City of Guelph.

Last year, a rabid bat was found by swimmers at Belwood Lake.

Corrections

  • The original media release indicated 314 bats tested positive for rabies in 2018. The actual number is 31.
    Jul 31, 2019 11:24 AM ET