Thursday , December 3 2020

Cairns heatwave causes spike in bat bites



CAIRNS and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service have advised people to be wary of local bats, as the heat wave sends them falling from the trees and into the biting range.

According to CHHH, there were people treated for bites and scratches today alone.

Dr. Richard Gair, Director of Tropical Public Health Services, said some bats might be infected with the potentially deadly Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV).

"ABLV is an infection like rabies, which can be transmitted through a bat or scratch, or

possibly through exposure of the eyes, nose or mouth to bat saliva, "he said.

media_cameraPICTURE: ANNA ROGERS. Flying foxes in fig trees at the library

"There have been six notifications of people being bitten or scratched by bats in the past week, including four today, which is unusually high and despite the public health warning issued last week.

There have been reports of bats falling from trees as a result of the hot weather.

Dr Gair said that anyone who sees an injured or fallen bat should avoid handling it and instead report it to a vaccinated wildlife rescuer or carer.

"All bat scratches and bites require treatment, including vaccination, to guard against the

development of ABLV, "he said.

"Prompt treatment following a bite or scratch from a bat can prevent serious disease and death."


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