B.C. man who died from rare rabies infection swatted bat away

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Bats are the only carrier and reservoir of rabies in B.C. - the latter term meaning they can carry and pass on the virus without showing symptoms.

Henry said while the exposure in the fatal case was on Vancouver Island, bats in all areas of B.C. are known to carry rabies. He died on Saturday in hospital St. Paul's.

"To ensure privacy for the family, no further information on the individual will be released", Henry said.

"As is often the case, when you come in contact with a bat, you may not actually see a scratch or bite", Henry said Tuesday.

The details about how Major came in contact with the bat are still unclear, and Major's family told health officials he was not bitten or scratched.

According to British Columbia health officials, about 13 per cent of bats in the province have tested positive to the rabies virus. "Sometimes the window can be many months ... but once symptoms start to show, it is nearly universally fatal", said Henry.

"Any contact with a bat at all is risky", said Henry.

"There's been one known case in the world of somebody who had symptoms and was treated and survived, but they had quite a lot of nerve damage and brain damage".

It is also unusual for bats to be flying during the day and could be a sign it is infected with rabies. "They have very, very small teeth and you might not notice that you have been bitten or scratched", the biologist said.

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Griffin added: "'I'm just happy whenever a female - especially a female over 50 - is still in the game". Cooper and Griffin's friendship also ended after he publicly scolded her on his show.

"It can be very, very small", she said. The most recent cases in Canada were in Ontario in 2012 and Alberta in 2007. "If you are in contact with a bat then you really need to be assessed so we can give you the vaccine to make sure we can prevent you from getting this awful disease".

"Nick was an absolutely wonderful young man and we always admired how fantastic he was with all the children he taught - he was truly talented", said one commenter.

About 200 people in B.C. receive vaccines against rabies annually because they may have been exposed to bats or other wild animals, said Dr. Eleni Galanis, physician epidemiologist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

In other parts of Canada and North America, strains of rabies virus are present in other species such as raccoons, skunks, foxes and coyotes.

For humans, rabies can be prevented by immunization soon after exposure.

Danielle Dagenais, a bat biologist with the B.C. Community Bat Program, said bats with rabies may seem especially sick or weak. It was only after he mentioned that he had come into contact with a bat that he was tested for rabies.

Only 25 people have died from the disease in Canada since reporting began in 1924, according to Health Canada.

Pet owners are advised to make sure their animals' vaccines are up to date and consult a veterinarian if their pets have been in contact with a bat.

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