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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Sydney: Deadly bat virus warnin

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Technophobe View Drop Down
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    Posted: January 16 2019 at 1:03am
Deadly bat virus warning: 8 people bitten and scratched across Sydney

Kate Aubusson19:19, Jan 15 2019

Australian health authorities have urged Sydneysiders not to pick up heat-affected or injured bats, warning the animal may carry a deadly virus.

Eight people have been bitten or scratched by bats in Sydney since December 1, according to New South Wales (NSW) Health. Another seven have been bitten or scratched in the Hunter New England area this year.

The high temperatures harm the bats' health, and several people have tried to free the sick bats that have become entangled in fence wire or netting.

But the bats may carry lyssavirus, which can be transmitted from bats to humans through infected saliva from a bite or scratch, but also if a person gets saliva in their eye, nose or cut in their skin.

READ MORE:
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* Researchers in Brazil discover vampire bats have begun drinking human blood

There have only ever been three cases of lyssavirus infection in Australia in 23 years, but the virus is very serious and almost always fatal, a spokesperson for NSW Health said.

Public health physician Dr David Durrheim said always assume that all bats and flying foxes are infectious, regardless of whether the animal looks sick or not.

"People should avoid contact with all bats, as there is always the possibility of being scratched or bitten," Durrheim said.

He encouraged parents to speak to their children about the dangers of handling bats.

Anyone who finds a sick or injured bat should call their local wildlife rescue group and not attempt to pick up the animal, the NSW Health spokesperson said.

"If someone is bitten or scratched by a bat, they should clean the wound immediately with soap and water for at least five minutes, apply an antiseptic solution and seek urgent medical advice," NSW Health said in a statement.

"A series of urgent injections to protect against lyssavirus infection may be required. Your GP or local health service or hospital can advise on treatment."

Source:   Sydney Morning Herald https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/109949210/deadly-bat-virus-warning-8-people-bitten-and-scratched-across-sydney
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 17 2019 at 8:30pm
^Thanks, Techno, I hadn't heard about this! NEVER touch any bat, even dead ones, unless you are gloved & know what you are doing! They are filthy with all sorts of viruses. In the US, we are most concerned with rabies.

Image result for lyssaviruswww.csiro.au
Lyssavirus (from the Greek λύσσα lyssa "rage, fury, rabies" and the Latin vīrus) is a genus of RNA viruses in the family Rhabdoviridae, order Mononegavirales. Humans, mammals, and vertebrates serve as natural hosts. The genus Lyssavirus includes the rabies virus traditionally associated with that disease.
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