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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Petition asks for city’s surplus not to go to Kelowna RCMP

The City of Kelowna has an $8.1 million surplus, with $2.5 million slated for policing

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Okanagan rappers get Swanky with Soda CRCKRS

Salty pair Alfy’O and Memo team up to produce album

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Sky’s no limit for 15-year-old Okanagan pilot

Young Kensington Hewson gets pilots licence before she can drive

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Lost dog reunited with family 3 months after going missing on remote B.C. trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of its Vancouver Island rescuers

Most Read