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Bat found in Regina backyard tests positive for rabies

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said Thursday that one bat in Regina recently tested positive for rabies.
The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said Thursday that one bat in Regina recently tested positive for rabies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ HO- Joanna Coleman

A bat found in the backyard of a home in the Cathedral neighbourhood has tested positive for rabies, the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) said Thursday.

Dr. Maurice Hennink, deputy medical health officer for RQHR, said the bat was lying in the city backyard and seemed dead when it was found.

Since 2009, two other bats in the city that were submitted for testing have also been found positive for rabies.

“From time to time, we may have bats that are behaving abnormally and that potentially could be rabid,” Hennink said.

If a bat is behaving abnormally, not flying properly or just lying on the ground, Hennink said residents should not touch it.

If they need to interact with the bat, Hennink added it is important to have protective gloves and call Saskatchewan public health.

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Hennink said RQHR has seen more positive cases of rabies across southern Saskatchewan, especially in skunks. This has resulted in some farm animals, including lamb and goats, being found positive for rabies in the last six to eight weeks.

“Cyclically, every five or six years, we do see an uptick in the number of rabies in our natural environment,” Hennink said.

“Seeing a positive bat in the City of Regina, in this case, is not unusual.”

Rabies is a viral disease that can be found in mammals, such as bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes and coyotes. It affects the nervous system and is commonly spread through bites or when infected saliva comes in contact with broken skin.

Hennink said residents should seek immediate medical attention if they are bitten by a wild animal or a pet, especially if they are not sure the pet has its rabies vaccinations up to date.

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