|Reports & Publications - Annual Report 2002 - 2003
Bats can be a dangerous carrier of rabies
Over the last few decades, bats have been the most common species to transmit rabies to humans in Canada. Four of the five human cases reported since 1970 can be traced to an exposure to bat.
Rabies virus is present in the saliva of the infected bat and can be transmitted by bites, scratches or through an existing wound or mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) that comes in contact with the bat's saliva.
Bat bites often go unnoticed. Even if there is no evidence of a bite there may be risk of infection if a person has had contact with a bat or if a bat is found in the same room as an unsupervised child, a sleeping person or a person with sensory impairment.
In these situations, the Health Unit and the patient's doctor should be contacted immediately in order to determine if rabies vaccination is required.