Lyssavirus alert: authorities warn against handling bats

Drought is leading to an influx of stressed and dying bats to more populous areas

Health authorities in drought-hit states are warning GPs of an increase in patients encountering bats and receiving bites or scratches that might expose them to the deadly lyssavirus.

Fruit bat

Queensland Health has issued a public alert after a 30% increase in the number of notifications of bat and flying fox wounds in the state compared with last year.

There are about 300 reported cases of potential exposure in Queensland annually.

But the dry conditions are contributing to heat stress and starvation in bats, increasing the likelihood