The Communicable Diseases Branch of the Department of Health, has recently updated the ‘Kids and bats don’t mix’ poster (below). Now that summer is here, it is important to know that bats are particularly affected by extreme temperatures with large numbers having been found on the ground under trees in previous years.
- All bats in Australia have the potential to carry Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV);
- ABLV is a virus in the same family as rabies and can be transmitted from bats to humans through bites;
- If a bat is found, do NOT touch it or let children touch it;
- Only people with specialist training, current rabies vaccination and the appropriate personal protective equipment should handle bats;
- Call a specialist bat handler to collect the bat:
- RSPCA – 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625);
- Department of Environment and Heritage Protection – 1300 130 372;
- Your local wildlife care group / rescuer / carer;
- If the bat is found by children ensure you keep a list of all the children in attendance;
- If there is any possibility that there has been a bite, scratch or mucous membrane exposure, even if you can’t see any injury, IMMEDIATELY notify your local Public Health Unit.
**The poster is also available to download from the Queensland Health website at https://www.health.qld.gov.au/communicablediseases/documents/kidsandbats-poster.pdf.