The recent heat and bushfires may have caused injured bats to find shelter in or near residential homes, prompting NSW Health to warn people about the dangers of handling bats.
Some residents have picked injured bats up in an attempt to help or rescue them, but this can pose the threat of the deadly Lyssavirus being passed on by scratches or bites.
Lyssavirus is rare in Australia, with director of Health Protection NSW Dr Jeremy McAnulty, advising people to avoid contact with all bats.
"Many people are bitten every year and people should assume that all bats and flying foxes are infectious, regardless of whether the animal looks sick or not," Dr McAnulty said.
"If someone is bitten or scratched by any type of bat they should thoroughly clean the wound for at least five minutes with soap and water as soon as possible, apply an antiseptic solution to help prevent infection and seek urgent medical advice," Dr McAnulty said.
Contracting the Lyssavirus infection could result in a 'rabies-like' illness which can be very serious and fatal if not treated.
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