Bats tell us a lot about how common certain diseases are. They can carry many different pathogens, some of which can infect people. We need to monitor the general health of bats in B.C., and the diseases that they may be carrying.
- Wildlife Health and COVID-19 in Canada: Bats (PDF, 188KB). Recommendations from the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative on the handling of bats for research, wildlife rehabilitation, and bats in buildings in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updated April 23, 2020.
- COVID-19 Guidance for Bat Research and Health (PDF, 49KB). Guidance for conservation officers, researchers, and people who work with wildlife from the American Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Updated April 11, 2020.
- Technical information about Coronaviruses in wildlife (PDF, 190KB) from the U.S. National Wildlife Health Centre (NWHC). Updated April 1, 2020.
I find a bat?
- Be careful not to touch a bat directly (wear gloves, use a shovel). There is always a risk of contracting rabies and other diseases from a bat.
I think a person might have been exposed to a bat?
- Contact the local health authorities for a human exposure risk assessment.
I think a domestic animal might have been exposed to a bat?
- Take the animal to the vet clinic to be assessed and vaccinated.
I want to have a bat tested for rabies or other diseases?
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) can test any bat that has or that could have infected a human or a domestic animal. You can ship a bat to the CFIA through the local veterinarian or through the B.C. Wildlife Health Program.
- Any bats found dead can be double-bagged, frozen and sent to the B.C. Wildlife Health Program, provided they are not known or suspected to have infected a human or domestic animal.