Potential rabies exposure

    TORONTO, Sept. 13 /CNW/ - Toronto Public Health is asking the public's
assistance in locating a woman who took an injured bat to the Toronto Wildlife
Centre on September 4, 2007. The bat has tested positive for rabies.
    "We are asking the individual who recently took a bat to the Toronto
Wildlife Centre to contact Toronto Public Health immediately," said Dr. Rosana
Pellizzari, Associate Medical Officer of Health. "People can become easily
infected with rabies if they are scratched or bitten by an infected bat, and
this individual may need to be vaccinated."
    Rabies vaccination can prevent serious illness, but must be taken soon
after being bitten or scratched by a rabid bat or other rabid animal. Without
vaccination, rabies can be fatal. Individuals can also become infected if a
rabid animal's saliva comes in contact with open cuts or with the mouth, nose
or eyes.
    At this time of year, human contact with bats can increase as bats start
to come indoors looking for places to hibernate for the winter. Never touch a
bat with bare hands. If someone has been bitten or scratched by a bat, or
suspects they have been, they should:

    -   clean and wash the bite or scratch thoroughly with soap and water

    -   seek medical attention immediately, and

    -   report the incident to Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (after
        hours 416-690-2142)
        A Public Health Inspector will investigate the incident.

    To prevent bats from coming indoors, seal holes in screens and any other
openings around your home. Bats can enter holes that are very small.
    In Ontario, raccoons, foxes, skunks, coyotes and bats are sources of the
rabies virus. Cats and dogs can also be infected if they are scratched or
bitten by a rabid animal. Ensure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.

                     Visit our web site at www.toronto.ca

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Media Relations, Toronto Public
Health, (416) 338-7974

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