July 20, 2018
JASPER – Alberta Health Services and Parks Canada have confirmed that a bat captured in Jasper National Park has tested positive for rabies.
The bat was located after a report from a visitor that they had encountered a bat while hiking along the Valley of Five Lakes trail, just south of Jasper on Sunday, July 15. Parks Canada staff investigated and captured the bat.
Although rabies is not common in Jasper National Park, each year a number of bats, and occasionally other mammals, do test positive for rabies in Alberta.
Wild mammals – such as bats, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and skunks, as well as other mammals that are behaving unusually or out of character – may be rabies carriers. Animals that are infected with rabies can spread the disease through their saliva.
To reduce your risk of contact with the rabies virus:
- avoid contact with bats.
- never touch, pet or catch a wild animal.
- secure garbage and other items that attract animals.
- secure open areas of your home, such as pet doors, chimneys, unscreened windows or any place that wild animals could enter.
- never handle a dead animal without using protective gloves and clothing to prevent injuries and contact with saliva.
If bitten or scratched by an animal you suspect may be infected with rabies, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and contact your local public health office for advice. You may also call Alberta’s Health Link, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by dialing 811.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.