Bats and rabies

Some bats in the UK carry rabies viruses called European Bat Lyssaviruses (EBLV). EBLV are not the classical rabies virus which is usually associated with dogs; classical rabies has never been recorded in a native European bat species. The presence of EBLV in bats in the UK does not affect the UK's rabies-free status as this relates to classical rabies only.

Bats are not normally aggressive and will avoid contact with humans. This means that there is no risk if you do not handle bats. The rabies virus is transmitted via a bite or scratch from an infected animal, or from its saliva coming into contact with your mucous membranes (your eyes, mouth or nose). If you do need to handle a grounded or injured bat, always wear thick gloves to avoid getting bitten. If you require further advice, you can call the Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228.

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