Two flying foxes were found in and near Ipswich Central State School after being infected with Australian Bat Lyssavirus. Picture: Christian Gilles
Two flying foxes were found in and near Ipswich Central State School after being infected with Australian Bat Lyssavirus. Picture: Christian Gilles

Bats infected with deadly disease found at Ipswich school

TWO flying foxes infected with a virus which can be fatal to humans were found in and near an Ipswich state school before they died.

West Moreton Health says in the past fortnight two flying foxes which later tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus were located around Ipswich Central State School.

West Moreton Public Health physician Dr Candice Colbran said an ABLV infection can be fatal to humans and anyone who could have had contact with either animal should immediately present to a doctor or an emergency department.

Letter sent to Ipswich Central State School parents.
Letter sent to Ipswich Central State School parents.

The Public Health Unit will then be contacted.

On the morning of February 17, one of the flying foxes was found inside the entrance of the school near the gates to Nerima Gardens in Queens Park.

The area is cordoned-off to students.

Another bat was found just after noon on Friday on the fence on Griffith Rd adjacent to the school.

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West Moreton Health says both bats were taken into care by appropriately trained and vaccinated carers but both died and were sent for testing for ABLV.

Dr Colbran said the first test result was received on Friday and the school community was notified.

“We expedited the second test result and that came back positive on Saturday,” she said.

“The Public Health Unit is ensuring appropriate follow-up for anyone involved in the recovery process.”

Urgent treatment is crucial to anyone who has been bitten or scratched by a bat.

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Only people who are trained and appropriately vaccinated should handle bats.

If you find a sick or injured bat call the RSPCA on 1300 264 625 or a local bat care organisation.

If you have had a bite or a scratch from a bat, call 13HEALTH or your local Public Health Unit for urgent advice on 3818 4700.

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.