South Australians being urged to steer clear of bats after two confirmed circumstances of a lethal “rabies-like” illness – the primary detection in SA in almost a decade.
A public well being alert has been issued warning folks heading outdoor to keep away from any contact with bats after it was confirmed two exposures in South Australia final month concerned bats carrying the lethal Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL).
In each cases which occured within the Adelaide metropolitan space the contact occurred throughout rescues by educated fauna carers who fortuitously had been already vaccinated.
They got precautionary therapy however didn’t contract the illness.
Division for Well being and Wellbeing’s Communicable Illness Management Department Director, Dr Louise Flood, mentioned the exposures had been the third time ABL had been confirmed in bats in SA, with the primary detected in 2012.
“ABL is a rabies-like illness that may be transmitted to people if they’re bitten or scratched by an contaminated bat and if therapy is delayed till after the onset of signs, the situation is invariably deadly,” Dr Flood mentioned.
“Whereas just one per cent of bats often carry ABL, these two current exposures are regarding and is a vital reminder that bats ought to solely ever be dealt with by appropriately educated and vaccinated animal handlers.
“Whereas the event of ABL from bat bites or scratches might be prevented by means of immediate wound administration and submit publicity prophylaxis, you will need to keep away from contact within the first place.”
Division of Major Industries and Areas Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mary Carr, mentioned publicity to ABL from bats can also be a priority for different animals in addition to people, and pet homeowners ought to guarantee their animals additionally keep away from any contact with bats.
“For those who discover bats round your own home, guarantee your animal is bodily separated from them by both relocating the pet both indoors or elsewhere till the bat is gone,” Dr Carr mentioned.
“For those who suspect your animal has been both bitten or scratched by a bat please contact your native vet or the Emergency Animal Illness hotline on 1800 675 888.”
In 2020 there have been 9 bat-human exposures in SA that required precautionary therapy, together with rabies vaccine and rabies immunoglobulin and eight have required therapy in 2021.
If you’re bitten or scratched by a bat, or come into contact with bat saliva, you must take fast motion by:
• Cleansing the realm with cleaning soap and water for a minimum of 5 minutes
• Making use of antiseptic comparable to povidone-iodine
• Contacting a physician or hospital emergency division and commencing a course of post- publicity prophylaxis if essential
For those who come throughout a bat that seems to be lifeless, injured or in misery, contact the Fauna Rescue SA bat helpline on 8486 1139 or Bat Rescue SA on 0475 132 093.