NT Town Warned Of Killer Bat Virus

Australia: Residents of Katherine in the Northern Territory are being urged to stay away from bats because they could be carrying a potentially fatal disease.

The town’s main sportsground was closed last week, after an estimated 250,000 bats descended on nearby trees.

Chris Nagy from the Centre for Disease Control says up to six per cent of bats carry the Lyssavirus, which is similar to rabies.

“Our best advice is, do not touch the bats,” he said.

“If you see a sick or injured bat, get in touch with one of the Wildcare workers, who have already been vaccinated and are protected against this disease.”

Mr Nagy says the main danger is coming in contact with bat saliva because that is where the virus lives.

He says that most often happens when people are bitten or scratched by a bat.

“This most often happens when people are trying to rescue a bat that they see is injured,” he said.