13 December 2020
The West Moreton Public Health Unit has confirmed that a flying fox recovered from Queens Park in Ipswich has tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV).
Dr Catherine Quagliotto, public health physician at WMH Public Health, said: “ABLV infection is fatal to humans and anyone who could have had contact with this bat is urged to present to their doctor urgently and ask their doctor to contact the Public Health Unit immediately.
“The weak and sickly bat was found on the ground between the carpark and the main gate of Nerima Gardens, Queens Park on the morning of Tuesday 8 December. It was taken into care by appropriately trained and vaccinated carers.
“The bat, which subsequently died, was sent for testing for ABLV and was found to be positive. This result was notified to Queensland Health and relevant follow-up was undertaken by the West Moreton Public Health Unit.
“We have been in contact with those people who reported the bat when it was found on the ground and also those who cared for it to check on the details of any contact they had with the bat and whether they were vaccinated. Once the bat was reported, it was only handled by trained and vaccinated carers,” said Dr Quagliotto.
“It is very important to provide urgent treatment if anyone has had a scratch or bite from a bat to prevent a lethal disease,” she said.
Dr Quagliotto said bats should not be handled by members of the public under any circumstances even if they appear dead. Only people who are trained and appropriately vaccinated should handle bats. If you find a sick or injured bat please contact the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or a local bat care organisation – search for “bat care”
The Public Health Unit is working with Ipswich City Council to provide the council with appropriate health advice.
Ipswich City Council said it would work with Queensland Health to ensure the safety of the community and the appropriate management of the situation.