Bat found at Greater Victoria school tests positive for rabies in 2nd case this month

A cluster of bats hibernate in this 2011 photo. Amy Smotherman Burgess / Knoxville, Tenn., News Sentinel via AP

A bat found on the grounds of a Greater Victoria elementary school has tested positive for rabies, marking the second case in the area in less than a month.

Island Health confirmed Friday the dead bat was found at Frank Hobbs Elementary School in Saanich.

Spokesperson Cheryl Bloxham said it’s not believed anyone came into direct contact with the bat before it was discovered.

WATCH: (Sept. 12) Rabid bat found at Vancouver Island school

Click to play video: 'Rabid bat found at Vancouver Island school'
Rabid bat found at Vancouver Island school

Last week, another bat tested positive for rabies after it was found at Keating Elementary, also in Saanich.

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In that case, several people came into contact with the animal and were given a rabies vaccine. No cases of rabies have been reported in connection with the incident.

In July, a 21-year-old man became the first person to die of rabies in B.C. since 2003 after he came into contact with a bat on Vancouver Island in mid-May.

The man, identified later as martial arts instructor Nick Major, developed symptoms six weeks after the incident, but his family said he was not bitten or scratched.

With the latest discovery, Island Health is reminding the public once again to never interact with a bat, including touching or poking it.

Any direct contact with a bat should be reported to the Island Health Communicable Disease program, Bloxham added.

WATCH: (July 16) B.C. man dies of rabies after coming into contact with bat

Click to play video: 'B.C. man dies of rabies after coming into contact with bat'
B.C. man dies of rabies after coming into contact with bat

Officials maintain that contracting rabies continues to be rare.

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Just 25 Canadians have lost their lives to it since the 1920s, according to federal statistics. Before Majors’ death, the most recent cases were in Ontario in 2012 and Alberta in 2007.

According to the province, bats are the only known rabies carriers in B.C., with about 13 per cent of the animals testing positive for it.

If someone is infected, health officials say it is crucial that they get immediate post-exposure treatment.

The province also says people should ensure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are up to date.

—With files from Simon Little

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