Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Bat Started 'Gnawing' at Boy's Leg

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Bat Started 'Gnawing' at Boy's Leg

Article excerpt

Byline: Melissa Gulbin Melissa.Gulbin@northernstar.com.au

Act fast after an attack

Public Health acting director Greg Bell gave the following advice for anyone bitten or scratched:

Wash the bite for at least five minutes. The rubbing can reduce infection.

Apply an antiseptic (like Dettol or Betadine quickly)

Seek medical advice and start vaccine as soon as possible

A HIGHLY aggressive fruit bat infected with the potentially deadly lyssavirus attacked a boy at the Evans Head Skate Park last week.

According to the boy's uncle and proprietor of Nan and Pop Skate Boutique, Isaac Roxburgh, the bat "latched onto the boy's calf and kept gnawing." It took two grown men to pull the bat off.

Despite assurances, it will be an anxious fortnight for the boy's family as they wait to see if he has been contaminated with the virus.

According to Public Health acting director Greg Bell, a special vaccine was couriered to the boy soon after the attack on Thursday.

All the correct protocols were followed to ensure an "excellent outcome".

He said there has been no recorded cases of anyone succumbing to lyssavirus after starting the vaccine course within 48 hours.

Mr Bell said a "very capable" local GP is administering the vaccine and monitoring the boy.

He explained there was no way of finding out whether the boy had succumbed to the disease until symptoms were present. These usually present 12 to 14 days after an attack.

Mr Bell said Public Health receives two to three potential lyssavirus cases per month, however it was rare for a bat to be captured and tested, let alone come back positive.

"I can't stress enough the importance of acting quickly to prevent succumbing to the virus. Otherwise you are just playing Russian Roulette. Once you contract the virus there is no cure," Mr Bell said.

Mr Roxburgh said the low-flying bat "came from nowhere".

"It seemed to come really low.

"Then it came back and swooped at my niece. …

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