There have been no recorded cases of Lyssavirus infections in Northern NSW in the past four years.
There have been no recorded cases of Lyssavirus infections in Northern NSW in the past four years.

If it’s a bat, do not pat, call a vet and that’s that

NORTHERN NSW residents must avoid handling or touching injured or dead flying

foxes and microbats this summer.

Bats can carry a number of viruses, including Australian Bat Lyssavirus that can be very dangerous to humans if bitten or scratched.

North Coast Public Health Unit Director Paul Corben said if you find an injured or distressed flying fox or microbat, do not attempt to handle it yourself.

"You may put yourself at risk, and also cause more harm to the bat. So call your local authorised wildlife rehabilitation group or a local veterinarian," Mr Corben said.

"If you must touch a dead bat, avoid directly handling it. Use a shovel or other implement and wear thick gloves to pick up the dead bat and dispose of its body by deep burial.

"You should only handle flying foxes or microbats if you have been trained by a reputable wildlife organisation, vaccinated against Lyssaviruses and use appropriate protective equipment."

If you or your children are bitten or scratched by a flying fox or microbat:

• the wound should immediately be washed thoroughly with soap and water

• apply an antiseptic such as povidone-iodine

• and consult a doctor as soon as possible to assess the need for further treatment.

NSW Health provides post-exposure treatment and vaccinations for people in NSW if they are bitten or scratched by bats.

There have been no Lyssavirus notifications among NSW residents in the past four years.

For more information regarding safely handling flying foxes and microbats, visit the NSW

Health website http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/flyingfoxes.aspx


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