The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is warning of a rise in bat sightings in the region.

The Health Unit says it has received a number of reports of bats being discovered in homes within the tri-county area in recent weeks.

While there have been no reported incidents of rabid bats biting people this year, HKPRDHU is recommending people be vigilant, be on the lookout for bats in their homes and take steps to ‘bat-proof’ your residence.

Manager of Health Protection with the HKPR District Health Unit Richard Ovcharovich says bats in the home can be a nuisance and a potential hazard.

“Although most animal bites are readily apparent, bites inflicted by bats can be harder to notice, especially if it involves an infant, child or those with cognitive impairments,” Ovcharovich said. “The more people who are exposed to wild animals like bats, the greater their risk of rabies.”

The Health Unit adds that rabies is fatal if left untreated, but is preventable if proper care is received immediately after an animal bite or scratch.

Ovcharovich adds that there are a number of ways to deal with bats.

“Bat proofing your home is especially important as we head into the cold-weather months and bats try to seek out warmer, indoor shelter. It’s best to inspect your attic, rafters and other areas for signs. If you find or suspect bats are living there – do not touch them. Instead, call a professional pest control company or a wildlife removal company for advice.”

As bats can transmit the rabies virus to dogs and cats, it’s also important to ensure your pet’s rabies vaccination is up to date.

If there was no human contact i.e. a bite or scratch, open a window and allow the bat to get out.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a bat, you should seek immediate medical attention.

You can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.