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Don't Touch Flying Foxes

Gympie Regional Council is reminding residents to not touch injured or deceased flying foxes.

Flying foxes are potential carriers of the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) and if they scratch or bite a person, they could infect them with the virus.

While actual human cases are low – there have only been three cases in Australia in the last 24 years – it’s important to be cautious as it can be deadly.

Councillor Bruce Devereaux said that Gympie currently has one of the largest flying fox colonies in Queensland at Commissioner Gully.

“Whether we like it or not, flying foxes are loving the Gympie region right now.

“And this means that, while people are out and about, the chances of encountering an injured or dead flying fox is a little higher than normal,” he said.

Queensland Health advises that if you (or your child) come across a bat:
1. Do not touch the bat, even if it seems to be dead.
2. If the bat seems sick, injured or stuck, contact a wildlife rescue organisation such as ANARRA, which has vaccinated, trained bat carers or the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

If you or someone you know has been bitten or scratched by a bat, or bat saliva has entered your eye, nose or mouth:
1. Wash the affected area gently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least five minutes
2. Apply an antiseptic (alcohol-based or iodine-based) to the area of the scratch or bite
3. Immediately contact medical services. A vaccine is available and while it is rare to become infected, it can be fatal. You can contact:
• Your GP
• 13HEALTH information line on 13 43 25 84
• Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health unit on 1300 017 190.