Superior Media has learned that a bat tested positive for rabies in Sault Ste. Marie.
Algoma Public Health has confirmed to the residents that brought in the bat that it did indeed test positive for rabies. This marks the second time this summer that a rabid bat was found in city limits.
Rabies is caused by a virus that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) of warm-blooded mammals- including humans. Rabies is transmitted through saliva – primarily via bite wounds. It can also be spread by infected saliva entering an open cut or wound, or contacting a mucous membrane, such as those in the mouth, nasal cavity or eyes.
An animal can pass on the disease a few days before showing clinical signs of rabies. The time between exposure to the virus and showing signs of the disease, may be from two weeks to many months. Its length of time depends on number of factors, including the strain of virus, and the location of the bite. The closer the bite to the brain, the sooner the symptoms will appear.
Citizens should be aware that rabies can be spread when bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. The rabies virus is considered fatal once symptoms appear in mammals and humans. The virus could take days, weeks, or months to start symptoms depending on the type of exposure and location.
If you think your pet or domestic animal has been bitten by a bat, contact a veterinarian and remember to keep vaccinations current for cats, dogs, and other animals. Do not touch or handle dead or dying animals—particularly bats. If animals must be handled, use puncture resistant gloves and a shovel to place the animal in a container or plastic bag. Contact Algoma Public Health to request rabies testing on animals that died of unusual activity.