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September 18, 2007
Rabies update: Second woman sought
Toronto Public Health has located the woman who brought an injured bat to the Toronto Wildlife Centre on September 4, 2007. Through investigation with that individual, health officials have determined that another woman also came into contact with the bat at a bus stop at the corner of Jane St. and Lawrence Ave. W. during the afternoon of September 3. This woman is urged to contact Toronto Public Health immediately, as the bat has tested positive for rabies.

“Anyone who has had contact with this bat must seek medical attention,” said Dr. Howard Shapiro, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “People can become easily infected with rabies if they are scratched or bitten by an infected bat. Without vaccination, rabies can be fatal.”

Rabies vaccination can prevent serious illness, but must be taken soon after being bitten or scratched by a rabid bat or other rabid animal. Individuals can also become infected if a rabid animal’s saliva comes in contact with open cuts or with the mouth, nose or eyes.

At this time of year, human contact with bats can increase as bats start to come indoors looking for places to hibernate for the winter. Never touch a bat with bare hands. If someone has been bitten or scratched by a bat, or suspects they have been, they should:

- clean and wash the bite or scratch thoroughly with soap and water
- seek medical attention immediately, and
- report the incident to Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (after hours 416-690-2142). A Public Health Inspector will investigate the incident.

To prevent bats from coming indoors, seal holes in screens and any other openings around your home. Bats can enter holes that are very small.

In Ontario, raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes and bats are sources of the rabies virus. Cats and dogs can also be infected if they are scratched or bitten by a rabid animal. Ensure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won more than 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact: Media Relations, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974



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