Have you found a bat in your home recently? You’re not alone. During the warmer months it is common for bats to find their way into homes through open windows and openings as small as 1.25 cm (3/8 of an inch). The Huron County Health Unit reminds residents to avoid bat exposures.
As recently as 2016, a Huron County bat tested positive for rabies. Overall, 1-3% of Ontario’s bat population is infected with rabies according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. Rabies is a viral disease that is fatal to humans.
“If you are bitten or scratched by a bat, or if infectious material (such as saliva) from a bat gets into your eyes, nose, or a wound, wash the affected area thoroughly and seek medical attention immediately,” says Public Health Inspector Patrick Landry. “If you awaken and find a bat in your room or in the room of an unattended child or an incapacitated person, call the Huron County Health Unit.”
When there has been a bite, scratch, or exposure to infectious material, the bat should be captured, if possible, so that the Huron County Health Unit can arrange for rabies testing. If the bat is dead, put some gloves on and place the bat in an empty container, such as a coffee can. Do not touch a bat with your bare hands.
If you find a bat in your home and are absolutely sure that there was no human contact, try to confine the bat to one room, turn on the lights and open a window so the bat can fly out.
Bats remain active until cooler weather arrives, generally beginning to hibernate or fly south around November.
Residents with questions or concerns should call the Huron County Health Unit at 519.482.3416 or 1.877.837.6143.