The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit is pleading with the public to take precautions against rabies.

HKPR officials announced that a woman in the HKPR’s region was attacked by a rabid bat. The woman was in her home when the bat attacked her and eventually bit the woman. HKPR gave the woman a post-exposure vaccine for rabies and the woman is reportedly recovering well.

Richard Ovcharovich the Environmental Health Manager of the health unit says that “the incident… is a reminder to take care around bats” he also says that “contact with any wild animal, including bats, should be avoided if at all possible” adding “it’s never worth the risk, especially when rabies is involved.

The health unit offers a list of tips on how to handle a bat encounter.

  • If you suspect you may have been bitten or had contact with a bat, immediately report this to your family doctor and the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.
  • If you are bitten or scratched by a bat that is discovered in your home, leave the room, close the door and contact a professional pest control company or wildlife removal company. Do not touch a bat with your bare hands. If there was no human contact (bite or scratch), open a window and allow the bat to get out.
  • If you have bats living on your property and want to remove them, contact a professional pest control company or wildlife removal company.
  • If you discover a bat outdoors that is injured, acting strange or dead, do not touch it.
  • As bats can transmit the rabies virus to pets like dogs and cats, ensure rabies vaccinations are up to date. The Health Unit is again working with area veterinarians to offer low-cost rabies vaccination clinics on Saturday, Sept. 29. Speak to your vet or contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006, or www.hkpr.on.ca for a list of times and locations.
  • Bat-proof the home. If bats are found in the home, seek advice from an animal control or wildlife conservation authority. If doing it yourself, carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry into your living quarters, then take steps to seal them. For instance, caulk any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch, ensure all doors to the outside close tightly, and use window screens, chimney caps, and draft-guards beneath doors to attics.

If left untreated, Rabies is almost always a fatal disease says Ovcharovich.