For the second time in less than a month, a dead rabies-infected bat has been found near an elementary school in Saanich.
Island Health confirmed Thursday that a bat discovered on the grounds of Frank Hobbs Elementary on Sept. 11 has tested positive for rabies.
In a note to parents and staff, Dr. Dee Hoyano, a medical health officer, said the bat was found during the lunch recess near the garbage and compost-bin area. School staff were alerted and the bat was promptly removed, she said.
“To the best of our knowledge, no student or staff had direct unprotected contact with the bat,” said Hoyano, noting that such contact would involve touching or picking up the bat with bare hands.
She advised immediately contacting the Island Health Communicable Disease program if any child or adult report direct contact with a bat on the school grounds.
The authority also asked parents to remind children never to disturb or interact directly with bats or other wildlife of any kind.
“Children should not touch, poke, or pick up a bat,” Hoyano said.
Last week, Island Health confirmed that a rabies-infected bat was discovered in bushes near Keating Elementary School in Central Saanich on Sept. 4.
The bat was found off the school grounds near portables leased by an after-school contractor.
Hoyano said at the time that fewer than five adults were given a preventive vaccine against rabies.
In July, a 21-year-old Parksville man died from a rare case of rabies after coming into contact with bat on Vancouver Island. It’s believed Nick Major became infected following a daylight encounter with a bat that flew into his hand some time in mid-May. He developed symptoms six weeks later and died July 13 at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
It was only the second known death due to rabies in B.C. since the 1920s.
— With a file from Cindy E. Harnett