A Montreal man is undergoing rabies post-exposure treatment after being bitten by a bat in Lachine’s Summerlea Park. He found the bat lying on the ground and when he picked it up to take a closer look (surprise, surprise) the bat bit him.
This incident shows yet again the need for better rabies education. While we don’t want to create fear and loathing of bats, we should consider them rabies-positive until proven otherwise. That doesn’t mean we want to eradicate them. It means we want to educate people to enjoy them from a distance and never have direct contact with them.
Never try to touch a bat. A bat lying on the ground in a park is not a healthy bat. It may be sick for various reasons, but rabies is certainly a possibility. If you come across a sick bat, call animal control. They can safely remove it so that no one has the chance of being bitten. If someone has had contact with the animal, the bat must be tested for rabies, as was done here. Rabies is preventable using proper post-exposure treatment, but it’s very expensive, a hassle and a series of vaccine’s isnt’ exactly fun.