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Dr Bradley Forssman

The best way to help bats suffering in the extreme heat and keep yourself safe is to call in the experts says the Director of Public Health at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District. Associate Professor Bradley Forssman says good Samaritans who attempt to help distressed or injured bats are putting themselves at risk of potentially fatal infections if they are bitten or scratched.

Be kind to bats and leave rescues to the experts

18 Jan 2018

 
Associate Professor Bradley Forssman

“All four species of Australian fruit bats (flying foxes) and at least three species of insectivorous bats can potentially carry lyssavirus, a very close relative of the rabies virus,” says Associate Professor Forssman.

Bats in the Penrith area have tested positive to lyssavirus.

“Animals can be infectious without looking sick, so you should never attempt to handle bats or flying foxes,” he says.

Associate Professor Forssman says if you are bitten or scratched by a bat or flying fox you need to contact your General Practitioner (GP) immediately for treatment and then call your local Public Health Unit on 1 300 066 055 for further advice.

Research has shown that people often handle bats because they are concerned about the welfare of the bats and do not consider their own safety.

“People who are inexperienced in handling bats may actually cause more harm or distress to the animals and undoubtedly are endangering their own lives,” says Dr Forssman.

“The best advice which helps the bats, and keeps you safe, is to call WIRES on 1 300 094 737 and let the experts retrieve and care for the injured animals."