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Rabies alert at White Pine Beach in Port Moody

An injured bat may have infected up to nine people with rabies after they handled it at Port Moody's White Pine Beach.
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CLEMENT FELIZE/UNSPLASH Bats head out at sunset.

An injured bat on the floating dock at White Pine Beach in Belcarra Regional Park Saturday night has sparked a public health alert.

Fraser Health is warning anyone who came in direct contact with the bat at around 7:45 p.m. to seek immediate medical assistance to be assessed for possible exposure to rabies.

In a statement, the health authority said it had been advised nine people may have been in contact with the bat.

“While the prevalence of rabies among bats is low — less than 1% — the health risks are severe,” said the statement, adding early treatment with a rabies vaccine can prevent medical complications.

In July, 2019, a man on Vancouver Island died after coming into contact with a rabid bat. He was already showing symptoms by the time he arrived at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for treatment, but it was too late for doctors to be able to treat him successfully.

According to Fraser Health, bats are the only natural reservoir for rabies.