Starving bats prompt health warning for Queenslanders

Queenslanders are being urged to be wary of bats this year, after a rise in humans coming into contact with the animals.

It’s believed starvation and heat stress could lead bats to come in closer contact with humans and pets this season, which could expose them to Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV).

Queensland Health issued the warning this morning, and says they’ve already seen a 30 percent increase in notifications of people who’ve been bitten or scratched by bats.


56-year-old Nigel Lott from Oxley was one such person, who collided with a bat while riding his bike home.

“I actually had a head-on collision with a bat while riding home. It clocked me on the side of the head,” he said.

“The next morning I rang 13HEALTH and they advised me to go to QEII Hospital. I had immunoglobulin for ABLV at the site of the wound and the rest in my arm.

“I also had four vaccinations. They said the risk of ABLV was low but strongly recommended that I have the course of injections,” Mr Lott said.

Janine Barrett from Biosecurity Queensland says bat contact is unusually high due to dry conditions in south east Queensland, and starvation.

“This spring-summer I anticipate we will see a high number of people and pets being potentially exposed to ABLV. Both starvation and heat-stress in bats make contact with a distressed bat more likely.

“However, if you see a bat, dead or alive, on the ground, don’t touch it. Only rabies vaccinated people who are experienced in handling bats and using appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. specialised gloves) should rescue or examine a bat.

“If a bat needs help, contact the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) or a local volunteer wildlife care organisation for help to safely collect a live bat.

“Contact your local veterinarian if you suspect that your pet might have been bitten or scratched by a bat,” Dr Barrett said.

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