Den (dewhitton) wrote,

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Some people... just... er...

Most readers know I'm a bat rescuer/rehabber, and long-lime readers know one of my licence requirements is that I have to be innoculated against rabies. Now, Australia is the only continent that is rabies-free but bats can carry a similar disease called lyssavirus. The percentage of bats with this disease is minute; much less than the half of 1% of bats with rabies in other countries. The problem is you can't tell which bats carry lyssavirus so all bats have to be treated as though they have it,

Last Thursday I had a call from a lady in Eugowra. Her 16 y.o daughter had rescued an injured flying-fox, and in the process the bat scratched the young lady and drew blood. The mother wanted my advice. I explained about Lyssavirus, and how it had killed two people in the last 5 years, and that it's not as virulent as Rabies so the daughter won't collapse in slobbering fits tomorrow. Lyssavirus has a very long incubation, about 2 years, but when symptoms present it's too late. Encephalitus, coma and death are like that. It's time to start planning the young lady's post-exposure shots now.

The bat will have to be tested, too. The vets will have to take brain tissue from the animal to test it for infection, and since it has a broken wing and will be euthanased anyway...

Today I had a call from National Parks in Forbes. A lady from Eugowra has handed in a little red flying fox. I asked if it was the one that had scratched the daughter, and it was. Nola from NPWS wanted to know what to do. Apparently they had a bloke driving up to Dubbo, so I told her to get him to take the bat to the zoovets at Western Plains Zoo. I then rang the vets to let them know it was coming. The woman who brought the bat in didn't want it euthanased, and Nola said she seemed unconcerned about the injury to her daughter.

I am a greenie conservationist environmentalist. What we have here is a very real threat to human life. Even if the bat was totally uninjured I would still euthanase it myself even if it was a rare species, and the little red flying foxes are not rare. The bat must be tested for lyssavirus. Besides, it has a broken wing and there is no place for warm fuzzies here. Maybe it can go in the zoo with the one-legged wallabies to live its life while a kind-hearted young lady dies. NPWS and the zoovets are monitoring the situation and will keep me updated. I know that if something bad happens I'll really feel like crap even though it won't be my fault.


I finally got Friday's bat from Trangie. It was very dead. It's "injured leg" had been amputated, plus being stuck to the front of the car for two days, plus being shoved in a box for 4 days had been too much for it. Poor little forest bat.
Tags: bats, rescues

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