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2 bats have tested positive for rabies this summer: ROW Public Health

Two bats have tested postive for rabies in Waterloo Region this summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International

Two bats have recently tested positive for rabies in Waterloo Region, according to Region of Waterloo Public Health.

“Two recent sample submissions we’ve had come back positive for rabies,” Aldo Franco, manager of health protection and investigation with the region, told Global News on Thursday.

READ MORE: Rabies nearly always kills when symptoms show, health officer says after Canadian fatality

Franco said a skunk tested positive in January as well.

He also noted that it is not uncommon for there to be rabid bats during the summer months.

“Rabies can exist amongst the bat population and this is the time of year where they are out,” Franco explained.

He warned members of the public to take some basic precautions when dealing with wild or stray animals.

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“Don’t approach or touch wild animals — or any unfamiliar animals, for that matter — even if they do seem friendly,” Franco said. “Stay away from stray animals, sick or injured animals.”

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He said if you do come into contact with a wild animal, contact Waterloo Public Health and if there is a bite or a scratch, contact your family physician as well.

Franco is also asking the public to take precautionary measures with their pets.

READ MORE: B.C. man dies of rabies, first confirmed human death in the province since 2003

“Keep them on a leash when you’re out, especially when walking on trails or in kind of forested areas where there could be the presence of wild animals,” he said.

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Franco warned that bats are unique in that they will access homes.

“If you notice bat activity in your neighbourhood, do the best you can to protect your house because they can get in, unlike any other wild animals, where chances are they’re not going to come in your house,” Franco explained.

With summer in full force, he points to the region’s website as a good tool on how to educate yourself on how to deal with any encounters you have with creatures in the wild.

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