Article

12.09.2014 11:08 Age: 6 yrs

Bat virus warning for Kimberley residents

A public health official today issued a warning to Broome and other Kimberley residents about the risk of contracting a rare but fatal disease from flying foxes (fruit bats).


A public health official today issued a warning to Broome and other Kimberley residents about the risk of contracting a rare but fatal disease from flying foxes (fruit bats).

WA Country Health Service Kimberley Population Health Acting Public Health Manager Ashley Eastwood said Australian bat lyssavirus had been detected recently in several sick and injured flying foxes in the Broome bat colony.

“We are warning people not to handle flying foxes, including sick or dead ones, and to seek immediate medical treatment if they are scratched or bitten,” she said.

Ms Eastwood said anyone scratched or bitten by a flying fox or any other type of bat should:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly as soon as possible for a minimum of five minutes with soap under running water. Proper         cleaning of the wound is the most effective way to reduce transmission of the virus
  • Apply an antiseptic solution after washing if possible (i.e. povidone-iodine) 
  • Cover the wound and seek medical attention immediately. Vaccination is still protective against the virus if given promptly
  • Flush the area with water if you get bat saliva in your mouth, eyes or nose
  •  Even if already vaccinated, medical attention should be sought as soon as possible for further treatment.

Australian bat lyssavirus rarely infects humans. Only three cases of human infection with Australian bat lyssavirus have been recorded. All infections were in Queensland, two in the 1990s and one in 2013.

People are not exposed to the virus from flying foxes flying overhead, feeding or roosting in gardens. It is also not spread through their droppings or urine, or if you live, play or walk near their colonies.

Fruit freshly picked from trees visited by flying foxes should be washed thoroughly with soap and water before eating.

All species of bat and flying fox are protected in Western Australia under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Injured, sick or dead bats should not be approached or handled, and should be reported to the Department of Parks and Wildlife Broome office (9195 5500), or Kimberley Wildlife Rehabilitation (9193 7489 or 0428 860 014) which will arrange pick-up for care and testing.

 

 

 


FEEDBACK

ON OUR SERVICES

FEEDBACK

ABOUT THIS WEBSITE