Bat infected with deadly lyssavirus found in Ipswich’s Queens Park

January 19, 2024 9:48 am in by
Photo: CSIRO website.

A public health alert has been issued for the fatal lyssavirus after a sick bat was found with the disease in a popular Ipswich park.

Early morning walkers uncovered the bat on the ground at Queens Park around 5:30am on Saturday January 13.

The bat has since tested positive for the deadly Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABVL).

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West Moreton Public Health Physician Dr Penny Hutchinson said the walkers took the right action by contacting authorities rather than attempting to handle the bat themselves.

“The only people who should handle bats and flying foxes are trained handlers who are vaccinated and have appropriate protective equipment,” Dr Hutchinson said.

“Australian Bat Lyssavirus is a serious and often fatal virus in humans that attacks the nervous system, similar to rabies.

“Ninety-nine per cent of bat exposures occurred through people handling bats,” Dr Hutchinson said.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Physician Dr Penny Hutchinson has allayed concerns around the safety of visiting Queens Park in Ipswich following the discovery of the sick bat.

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“Queens Park is still safe to visit, it’s a lovely place and people should be able to enjoy it.

“Again don’t touch it and get a hold of the right people such as the RSPCA and the Bat Conservation Society,” she said.

West Moreton Health urged anyone who finds a bat either stuck on fences, bird netting or on the ground to contact the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1330 264 625) or Bat Conservation and Rescue QLD on 0488 228 134.

In the event someone is bitten or scratched by a bat, or exposed to bat saliva through the eyes, nose, or mouth, follow the steps below:

  • Do not scrub the wound. Instead, wash the wound gently and thoroughly for five minutes with soap and water.
  • If available, apply an antiseptic with anti-virus action such as povidone-iodine, iodine tincture, aqueous iodine solution or alcohol (ethanol).
  • If bat saliva has got in the eyes, nose or mouth, flush the area thoroughly with water.
  • Contact a doctor, 13HEALTH, your local Public Health Unit or the nearest hospital immediately to start post-exposure treatment.
  • Contact the RSPCA hotline on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or a wildlife carer to collect the bat for testing, if it is available.
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