Rabies and Australian Bat Lyssavirus

Rabies virus and the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL) are in the same virus family and can cause fatal disease in humans. Rabies is a disease that primarily affects animals that bite and scratch. ABL is a virus that is closely related to rabies, which rarely infects humans and is spread by bats.

For more information, please see the fact sheet below or contact the Communicable Disease Control Section on 02 6205 2155.

ACT Health issues health warning

Only vaccinated people who have been trained in the care of bats should handle them. Anyone who comes across an injured bat should contact the RSPCA on 6287 8113, or call the after hours wildlife rescue officer on 0413 495 031.

If you see an injured bat, do not touch it or pick it up.

ALL Australian bats have the potential to carry the Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL).

If you are bitten, scratched or licked by a bat it is important to wash the wound or area thoroughly, for about five minutes, with soap and water. If saliva from a bat went into your eyes, nose or mouth flush well with water. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

These reported injuries are usually occurring when people are attempting to free the bats from netting over fruit trees or when the animal has become trapped on fencing.

Fact sheet and media release

Fact sheet

Download: Rabies and Australian Bat Lyssavirus Infection Fact Sheet (December 2013) (PDF File - 81k)
Rabies and Australian Bat Lyssavirus Infection Fact Sheet (December 2013) (Rich Text Format File - 124k)

Media release

Download: Bats media release (10 September 2012) (PDF File - 85k)