Bat found with rabies

A deceased bat found September 10 at the corner of Sherbrooke and McGill College has tested positive for rabies, according to Montreal public health officials.

Officials are looking for anyone whom the bat may have scratched or bitten. One person was bitten while trying to put the bat in a box, La Presse reported Friday, and officials have urged anyone else who may have been in contact with the animal to seek medical assistance or examination, even if they have no visible symptoms of rabbies.

“In the case of a bat, [the] bite can be very small and not cause you concern,” said a notice from the Montreal Public Health Department.

Rabies is transmitted when infected saliva enters the bloodstream, which can take place through an open cut, the mouth, or the nose. If left untreated, rabies is fatal, but an infection can be treated easily within the first 21 to 90 days of initial contact.

According to the Gazette, the bat was captured and taken to the Biodome for analysis. Last week, test results were issued indicating that the bat was carrying rabies.

Most of Montreal’s bat population is harmless, while only a small percentage are rabid, according to the Gazette. In 2000, a Quebec resident died after being bitten by an infected bat. Although deaths in North America are rare, 50,000 people die of rabies each year around the world.

Officials have posted warnings around the McGill campus, and are asking people with information or questions to call Info-Santé at 811 or McGill Health Services at 514-398-6017.

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