Ingersoll, Ont. rabies case in bat prompts safety reminder

A big brown bat is seen in this file photo. (Getty Images)

An Ingersoll, Ont. resident needed preventative treatment after coming into contact with a bat that tested positive for rabies.

Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) says the resident found a bat that appeared to be injured on July 3 and came into contact with it while attempting to remove it.

On Wednesday, the bat tested positive for rabies. As a result, the resident is undergoing treatment.

Elaine Reddick, Infectious Diseases program manager at SWPH, said in a statement, “It is important for residents to always seek medical attention if they are bitten by a bat, or any animal, whether it is wild or not.”

Rabies is infectious and can be fatal if left untreated.

She added, “This case should also be a reminder for residents to avoid contact with wildlife, always supervise pets outdoors, and vaccinate pets against rabies as advised by their vet.”

Officials say rabies cases are low in Ontario, with just 49 cases in 2020 -- 39 of those in bats -- and can also affect animals like skunks, foxes and raccoons.

People are encouraged to keep pet vaccinations up to date, keep pets indoors at night and keep children away from wild or unfamiliar animals.

Rabies vaccination baiting of wildlife by Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also began earlier this week in an effort to manage the spread.