How to protect yourself from bats & prevent diseases like rabies

May 17, 2024

As you explore the outdoors this spring and summer, there's a chance you'll encounter a bat. Bats play an essential role in B.C.'s ecosystem and economy, and can eat their weight in insects (including mosquitoes) in one night. All bats in Canada eat nothing but insects, and in most cases, only flying insects. 

But they can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including rabies. Rabies is a very serious disease caused by a rabies virus. It's transmitted through saliva (spit), usually by the bite of a mammal. If not treated in time, a rabies infection is almost always fatal.

In B.C., between four and eight per cent of bats that come into contact with people test positive for the rabies virus. In 2023, 144 people in the region were treated for potential exposure to rabies.

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