Local Bat Tests Positive for Rabies

Written by Communications, September 12, 2019

Residents Reminded to Avoid Contact with Animals That Can Carry Rabies

Peterborough Public Health confirmed today that a local bat found last week has tested positive for rabies, and is reminding residents to steer clear of wild animals commonly known to carry the disease.

“This positive animal case confirms what we already know – that rabies is present in our area,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “It serves as a good reminder of the importance of vaccinating pets, and avoiding contact with bats and other animals known to carry rabies.”  In Canada, the most common rabies carriers are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.  Rabid animals may be extremely excited, attack objects or other animals, froth at the mouth, and bite at anything.  31 bats tested positive for rabies in Ontario in 2018 with 3 of the positive bats being from the Peterborough area.

To prevent rabies, always wear gloves and other protective clothing when handling a bat.  Warn children to stay away from bats and be sure to report any contact with them.  If you or a pet comes in direct contact with a bat, you should contact your veterinarian.  For tips on preventing conflicts with bats, visit www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-conflicts-bats.

While it’s rare, human infection with rabies is almost 100% fatal.  Rabies is a deadly disease of the central nervous system that affects humans and other mammals.  The virus is concentrated in the saliva of a rabid animal and can spread through a bite, cut or scratch, or if the saliva comes in contact with the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or eyes.  There is no known treatment for rabies once the symptoms appear.  The disease cannot be treated, but can be prevented through vaccination.

To protect your family and your pets from rabies:

  • Keep pets up-to-date with their rabies vaccination. In Ontario, it’s the law that all cats, dogs and ferrets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies.
  • Teach children to stay away from wild animals, dogs and cats they don’t know, or animals that are acting strangely.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating your livestock against rabies.
  • Stay away from any wildlife, dogs or cats that you don’t know or any animal that is acting strangely. A strange acting animal could be a sign that it is sick or injured. Remember, only mammals can carry rabies.
  • Keep pets away from wildlife. Don’t let your pets run free in the neighbourhood and keep them indoors at night.
  • Don’t feed, transport or relocate wildlife.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, seek medical advice immediately, and then contact Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000.

If your pets or livestock have had contact with a wild animal, such as a bat, skunk, fox or raccoon, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Veterinarians seeking assistance with risk assessments or post-exposure management can call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs at 1-877-424-1300.

If an animal is acting strange or sick, and neither a human nor pet/livestock have been exposed, contact your municipal animal control department or OSPCA.  For non-emergencies and information about rabies in wildlife, call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry rabies hotline at 1-888-574-6656.


For further information, please contact:
Julie Ingram

Manager, Environmental Health

705-743-1000, ext. 351