Residents warned to steer clear of bats during heatwave
BURNETT residents who come across distressed bats during the current heatwave are being advised by the Wide Bay Public Health Unit not to touch them.
Bats, like all other wildlife, are vulnerable to heatwave conditions and residents may come across bats that appear distressed or dead.
Wide Bay Public Health Unit physician Dr Margaret Young said if residents came across distressed or dead bats they should contact a qualified wildlife carer to tend to them.
“People should never touch bats unless they are trained and vaccinated wildlife carers, even if the bat appears to be dead,” Dr Young said.
“Bats that appear dead often are not dead and will bite or scratch people if touched.
“It is important that you do not touch the bat as their bite or scratch, which can go through towels and gloves, can transfer diseases such as Australian Bat lyssavirus, which is closely related to rabies.”
Dr Young said bats that were clearly dead should be placed in a bin or buried using a shovel.
“Do not touch the bat as there is a claw on the wing which can cause injury,” she said.
Anyone who is bitten or scratched should wash the wound for at least five minutes using soap and water, then seek immediate medical advice.