August 23, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops woman is warning others to beware of animals acting strangely after an encounter with a rabid bat.
While out walking her dogs along Rivers Trail on Aug. 8, Valerie Wilson saw a bat in the river near the airport.
Wilson, who is a B.C. SPCA employee, says her first instinct was to help an animal that might be suffering.
“It was flailing in the water like it was drowning,” she says. “I was wearing two shirts, so I took one of my shirts off to pick it up out of the water.”
She carried the bat back to her car and drove it to the B.C. Wildlife Park, which deals with injured animals. Staff initially tried to care for the bat, but eventually had to euthanize it. They sent a sample for testing and when it returned positive for rabies they called Wilson.
Wilson is now going through a series of shots to make sure she’s safe.
“Even though it’s unlikely (I have rabies), it’s best to treat it,” she says.
While Wilson doesn’t recall being bit, the bat did struggle and bite her shirt, so there is a slim possibility she was infected. And while her experience at the SPCA helped her in dealing with the aggressive animal, she says she doesn’t always notice when she’s scratched.
In B.C., bats are the only regular carrier of rabies, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. Any bats found, especially ones acting strangely, should be left alone, the organization's website states.
One of the reasons rabies was suspected was how the bat was found and the way it acted. It was daylight when the bat was found, and it was in the river, a time and location unusual for bats. It was also aggressive, while bats are typically docile, Wilson says.
The Salmon Arm Observer recently reported a boy was bit by a rabid bat after it crashed into the side of a boat the boy was in. He is being treated for the bite now.
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