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Bat tests positive for rabies virus in York Region

Newmarket - 

The Regional Municipality of York is advising residents to take precautions and stay away from bats after receiving confirmation a bat in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has tested positive for the rabies virus. This is the first reported case of rabies in a bat in York Region since 2013.

The rabies virus affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded mammals, including humans, and is transmitted through a bite, lick or scratch from an infected animal. While most reported cases involve wild animals such as bats, foxes, raccoons and skunks, dogs and cats are also at risk. 

Infection with the rabies virus can be fatal. A post-exposure vaccine is available for people who come into contact with a rabid animal. 

While the percentage of rabies-infected bats in Ontario is considered low, people should avoid approaching or coming into contact with bats – they are wild animals and should not be kept as pets in or near your home. Professional assistance may be required to remove bats living on your property.

Below are some helpful tips to avoid potential infection:

  • If you discover a bat that is injured, acting strange or dead, do not touch it – contact a wildlife or pest removal company to remove it
  • If you discover a bat in your home, leave the room, close the door and contact a wildlife or pest removal company – never touch a bat with your bare hands
  • Bats can transmit the rabies virus to domestic pets such as dogs and cats, ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date
  • If you suspect your pets or livestock have come in contact with a rabid animal, contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-424-1300
  • If you suspect you may have been bitten, scratched or had contact with a bat or rabid animal, immediately wash the wound with soap and water for a minimum of 15 minutes, contact your family doctor for advice and report the incident to York Region Public Health at 1-800-361-5653


For more information on this or any other public health-related issued, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or TTY 1-866-252-9933 or visit

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Media Contact: Joe Chawla, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York 1-877-464-9675 ext. 77240, After-hours: 905-806-1216,

Rabies,Public Health,York Region,bats,diseases The Regional Municipality of York en-US Media Release

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