West Moreton Health issues Public Health Alert

The West Moreton Public Health Unit has confirmed that a flying fox recovered from Queens Park in Ipswich has tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV).

WMH Public Health physician Dr Penny Hutchinson said the ABLV infection was fatal to humans.

“Anyone who could have had contact with this bat is urged to present to their doctor urgently and ask their doctor to contact the Public Health Unit immediately,” she said.

“The bat was found in an area where there is potential contact with the general public in the waterfall near the bridge, which has no water in it currently.”

It was found at about 11:45am on Monday, 18 January 2021 in the Japanese Gardens in Queens Park.

It was taken into care by appropriately trained and vaccinated carers.

The bat, which subsequently died, was sent for testing for ABLV and was found to be positive. 

This result was notified to Queensland Health and relevant follow-up was undertaken by the West Moreton Public Health Unit.

“We have been in contact with those people who reported the bat when it was found and also those who cared for it to check on the details of any contact they had with the bat and whether they were vaccinated,” Dr Hutchinson said.

“Once the bat was reported, it was only handled by trained and vaccinated carers. 

“It is very important to provide urgent treatment if anyone has had a scratch or bite from a bat to prevent a lethal disease.”

Dr Hutchinson 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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