A bat, found at Keating Elementary School last week, has tested positive for the rabies virus. (File photo)

Bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health issues warning to parents, vaccine to anyone at risk of exposure

A bat, found on Keating Elementary School property last week, has tested positive for the rabies virus.

Island Health’s medical health officer Dee Hoyano sent a letter to parents and staff of the school on Monday.

According to the letter, Island Health Communicable Diseases assessed a number of people who may have come in direct contact with the bat, either touching or handling the animal. Those who were found to be at risk of exposure were given a preventative vaccine against rabies.

READ ALSO: Bat from Denman Island tests positive for rabies

The bat was found near the out of school care portable, after school hours. The area is currently out of bounds and will not be used during school hours.

Island Health states they believe it is unlikely that children attending the school would have had contact with the animal during school hours.

READ ALSO: B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Any child or adult that may have had direct contact with a bat on the school grounds is asked to call the Island Health Communicable Disease program immediately at 1-866-665-6626. Island Health emphasized seeing or being near the bat is not direct exposure and isn’t a risk for rabies.

Island Health notes parents should remind children to never interact directly with or disturb wildlife, including bats, adding if children find an animal that appears to be ill or dead they should tell a teacher or other responsible adult.

Hoyana says among the large number of people reporting bat exposures this summer, a high number of those could have been prevented if people had simply avoided touching the bat.

She recommends wearing protective layers, especially head protection, if you go out at night or around dusk when bats are out, also staying in better lit and open areas.

Only .5 per cent of bats in the province are thought to be infected with rabies. In B.C. 13 per cent of the bats submitted for testing have been found positive for rabies, the number may seem high but most bats that are submitted for testing usually are already displaying signs of illness or unusual behaviour.

The Island has submitted 40 bats to be tested this season and only two were positive for rabies.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ground breaking ceremony at site of new Ledgeview Golf Course clubhouse in Abbotsford

Construction slated to start in November with total budget of $6.8 million

SLIDESHOW: West Coast Women’s Show

Largest women’s show in Western Canada returns to TRADEX this weekend

Elizabeth’s Wildlife Centre in Abbotsford could use a boost

Non-profit centre launches online campaign to raise money for upgrades

Abbotsford Rotary Club’s Halloween Bash raises funds for 3 charities

Event takes place Friday, Oct. 25 at Quality Hotel and Conference Centre

ELECTION HUB: Candidate profiles, voter information and news for Abbotsford’s ridings

We’ve collected our election coverage in one spot to help you decide who to vote for

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Man killed in Richmond had ‘no record of criminality,’ IHIT says

Stephen Chong, 58, was found dead in his business

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read