While bats are often harmless creatures that you spot throughout the night, the Region of Peel is warning that bats carrying rabies have just been discovered in the city of Brampton. This is the first confirmed case of rabies that has been discovered in the Peel area this year. Officials are warning Ontarians to use caution while around bats and other stray animals in your area.
On Thursday, the region of Peel released a public announcement that residents in the area of Brampton should use extra caution to protect themselves from stray animals, including bats, that may be caring rabies.
After discovering that some bats in the area tested positive for rabies, Peel is warning their residents of the simple tasks that they can do to protect themselves from getting bit or scratched by one of these animals.
Some of these tasks include never touching dead or sick animals, never feeding stray animals, and keeping yourself, children and pets away from any unknown animals.
While it is hard to identify which creatures have rabies, rabid animals may move slowly and bats may lose their ability to fly or can be seen flying around during daylight hours.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be transferred to humans from infected animals through bite or scratch. Humans who come in contact with rabies can often get severe damage to the brain and spinal cord. If left untreated, rabies can even lead to death.
If you come in contact with a potentially rabid animal, Peel is asking residents to seek medical attention immediately and to wash out the infected area with soap and water to reduce the chances of catching the infection.
The Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel, Dr. Jessica Hopkins, states that the transmission of rabies by a bat to human is extremely rare.
However, earlier this summer a 21-year-old Canadian man contracted rabies after he came in contact with a bat while on Vancouver Island. The man ended up dying from the infection mid-July.
Despite the recent incident, humans dying from rabies is still super rare. Since the 1920s, there have only been 24 incidents of rabies in Canada.