West Moreton Health issues Public Health Alert

In the past fortnight, two flying foxes – both found near the Ipswich Central State School – have tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV).

West Moreton Public Health physician Dr Candice Colbran said ABLV infection was fatal to humans and so anyone who could have had contact with either animal should immediately present to a doctor or Emergency Department who would then contact the Public Health Unit.

On the morning of Wednesday, 17 February, a bat was found inside the entrance of Ipswich Central State School, near to the Nerima Gardens gate.

The area is cordoned-off to students.

Another bat was found at 12.30pm on Friday, 26 February on the fence on Griffith Road, which is adjacent to the school.

Both bats were taken into care by appropriately trained and vaccinated carers. They both died and were sent for testing for ABLV.

Dr Colbran said the first test result was received on 26 February and the school community was notified.

“We expedited the second test result and that came back positive on Saturday, 27 February,” Dr Colbran said.

“The Public Health Unit is ensuring appropriate follow-up for anyone involved in the recovery process.”

Dr Colbran said it was very important to provide urgent treatment to anyone who has had a scratch or bite from a bat to prevent a lethal disease.

She said bats should not be handled by members of the public under any circumstances even if they appear dead.

Only people who are trained and appropriately vaccinated should handle bats.

“If you find a sick or injured bat please contact the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or a local bat care organisation – search for “bat care”.

If you have had a bite or a scratch from a bat, please call 13HEALTH or your local Public Health Unit for urgent advice.

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