GUELPH – Three members of a Dufferin County family are being treated for possible exposure to rabies from a bat found in their barn.
This is the first rabid bat confirmed in Dufferin County since 1990.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry distributes baits with the rabies vaccine that wildlife will eat to stop the spread of the rabies in animals; however, there is no vaccine or bait for bats.
Given the number of bats in Ontario rabies is relatively rare. Last year, 31 bats tested positive for rabies in the province. There have been three rabid bats found in the Guelph since 2017 and a rabid bat was found at Belwood Lake last summer.
“Bats are an important part of our ecosystem, it just isn’t fun to find one in your home,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health and CEO for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.
“If you come across a bat indoors, don’t touch it — call your local animal control agency. If anyone has direct contact with the bat call your family doctor or visit your local hospital emergency department.”
The public is encouraged to stay away from all wildlife and stray cats and dogs.
If an animal is acting strangely contact animal control services or the police.
If someone is exposed to an animal that may have rabies, a physician will do an assessment to determine if that individual should receive the rabies vaccine.
For more information about rabies, visit wdgpublichealth.ca/rabies.