On Tuesday, a bat dove into the water of Belwood Lake, Ontario, and some local swimmers jumped in to help the animal. Eventually, the bat was caught by the staff with the Grand River Conservation Authority. Today, August 31st, the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health officials urged any individual who came in contact with the animal on Tuesday to do some medical checks as the bat tested positive for rabies.
“Any swimmer who may have physically contacted the bat could have been exposed to rabies,” stated the public health officials. “Anyone in direct contact with the bat needs to contact their healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency department,” the officials added.
Rabies is a deadly disease
Rabies is a fatal condition and is usually carried and spread by wild animals, such as raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats. According to the public health officials, rabies is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal, commonly after a bite.
Rabies is a severe infectious disease transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans, caused by a Rhabdoviridae virus (a neurotropic virus that binds to brain cells causing an irreversible meningoencephalitis leading to death in 5-20 days).
The first symptoms can occur between a few days and almost a year, but in most cases, the symptoms develop within 4-6 weeks of infection.
The virus attacks and damages the central nervous system that includes both the brain and the spinal cord.
Rabies confirmed in wildlife animals in Canada
During this summer, two skunks tested positive for rabies in the Elora, while two bats in Guelph were also confirmed with the disease in the past couple of weeks.
“This is a reminder to stay away from all wildlife,” public health said. “If you suspect an animal has rabies do not go near it. Contact your local animal control service or the police,” said the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health officials.