Gympie residents warned to not touch bats
THE Sunshine Coast and Gympie Hospital and Health Service Public Health Unit is urging locals and visitors not to touch bats, even if they seem sick, injured or dead.
Public health physician Dr Madhumati Chatterji said that as conditions become hotter and
drier, the chance of seeing sick, injured or dead bats increases.
“Hot weather, fires and smoke can affect bats, and people may want to help them, however, we strongly urge members of the public to avoid touching bats,” Dr Chatterji said.
“Bats can infect people with Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV). ABLV is like the rabies virus, and infection can be fatal. All bats are considered to be potential carriers of ABLV, which is why only trained and vaccinated professionals should handle them.
“ABLV can be spread from bats to people through a bat bite, scratch or by getting bat saliva in the eyes, nose or mouth.
For about a year, a growing roost of grey-headed flying foxes has been distressing residents and causing damage in Commissioner’s Gully, in the heart of Gympie, and Gympie MP Tony Perret has called on the Gympie Regional Council to act.
“I’ve received numerous emotional complaints about problems at Commissioners Gully, Gympie, and at Cooloola Cove,” Mr Perrett said.
“Parents need to make sure children also know not to touch bats.
“Bat claws and teeth are very sharp and can penetrate thick gloves or a towel, hence do not attempt to rescue an injured, sick or dead bat.”
Video and audio of interview with Dr Chatterji is available at: