Bat infected with disease deadly to humans found in park
A FLYING fox which tested positive for a disease which can be fatal to humans was found in an Ipswich park before it died.
West Moreton Health confirmed the animal was recovered from Queens Park and later tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
It was found on the ground between the carpark and the main gate of the Nerima Gardens on the morning of December 8.
The gardens have hosted the popular Christmas Wonderland lights display since December 11.
According to the New South Wales Department of Health, only three cases of human infection with ABLV have been recorded since the virus was first identified in 1996.
All three cases were in Queensland and all died as a result of ABLV infection after being bitten or scratched by bats.
"ABLV infection is fatal to humans and anyone who could have had contact with this bat is urged to present to their doctor urgently and ask their doctor to contact the public health unit immediately," West Moreton Health public health physician Dr Catherine Quagliotto said.
"It was taken into care by appropriately trained and vaccinated carers.
"The bat, which subsequently died, was sent for testing for ABLV and was found to be positive.
"This result was notified to Queensland Health and relevant follow-up was undertaken by the West Moreton public health unit.
"We have been in contact with those people who reported the bat when it was found on the ground and also those who cared for it to check on the details of any contact they had with the bat and whether they were vaccinated.
"Once the bat was reported, it was only handled by trained and vaccinated carers.
"It is very important to provide urgent treatment if anyone has had a scratch or bite from a bat to prevent a lethal disease."
Dr Quagliotto said bats should not be handled by members of the public under any circumstances, even if they appear dead.
Only people who are trained and appropriately vaccinated should handle bats.
If you find a sick or injured bat contact the RSPCA on 1300 264 62 or a local bat care organisation.
The public health unit is working with Ipswich City Council to provide the council with appropriate health advice.
Ipswich City Council has been contacted for comment.
You can contact the West Moreton Health public health unit on 3818 4700.