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Bat in Stratford tests positive for rabies

Huron Perth, ON – A bat in Stratford has tested positive for the rabies virus. This is the first bat to test positive in Huron Perth this year. A person who was bitten by the bat is receiving rabies post-exposure treatment, which will prevent them from developing rabies infection.

Overall, one to three per cent of Ontario's bat population is infected with rabies. Rabies is a viral disease that is fatal to humans. Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) reminds residents and visitors to avoid exposure to bats and to contact the health unit if they have had an exposure.

To prevent human cases of rabies, HPPH investigates all human-animal exposures (which includes bites and scratches).

“If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, or a wound, wash the affected area thoroughly and seek immediate medical attention,” says Patrick Landry, Public Health Inspector. “If you awaken to find a bat in your room, a child’s room, or the room of another household member, call HPPH.”

When an exposure has occurred and the bat is available, HPPH will arrange for the animal to be tested for rabies. It is very important to not touch or handle a bat with your bare hands. 

If you find a bat in your home and are certain that there was no human contact, try to confine that bat to one room, turn on the lights and open a window so the bat can fly out.

Protect yourself and others from rabies:

  • Have your pets vaccinated for rabies; it is the law in Ontario that all cats, dogs, and ferrets over 3 months of age are vaccinated for rabies. 
  • Walk your pets on a leash and keep them inside at night
  • Don't feed or touch wild, stray, or unknown animals
  • Don't leave food out
  • Avoid animals that appear sick or are acting strange
  • Don't trap wild animals
  • Don't keep wild animals as pets
  • Bat-proof your home or cottage:
    • Caulk holes in the exterior, even those as small as one-quarter to one-half inch in diameter.
    • Tighten screens, cap your chimney, place draft guards under doors leading to the attic and outside, and fill plumbing fixture holes with steel wool or caulk.
    • Keep doors tightly closed when going outside and coming back indoors.

Bats remain active until cooler weather arrives. They generally begin to hibernate around November.

For more information:

  • Huron Perth Public Health: 1-888-221-2133
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Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133

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