Animals and humans urged to take care around flying foxes.
Animals and humans urged to take care around flying foxes. Alasdair Young

Flying foxes send Clermont bat crazy

CONCERN spread through the Clermont community and surrounds when a resident's dog was placed in quarantine after it came into contact with a flying fox which tested positive for the deadly lyssavirus at the weekend.

The dog was taken to the Clermont Veterinary Surgery.

It is undergoing a course of treatment for the endemic virus, present in about one per cent of Australian bats and closely related to the rabies virus found overseas.

Isaac Regional Council chief executive officer Rod Ferguson commended the owner for taking the correct steps to help their dog.

Mr Ferguson said he understood the incident caused concern in the community and steps were in place to monitor the situation.

"Council's focus is to keep flying foxes from roosting in residential backyards until they naturally migrate, however the council also recognises the recent concerns of the community while the colony locates itself in Centenary Park," Mr Ferguson said.

"Ecological consultants have been invited to submit proposals to attempt to move the colony to a location where human interaction is limited.

"It is expected that a consultant will be appointed shortly and once a dispersal plan is agreed upon then the community will be advised of the dispersal activities that will be carried out."

Clermont Veterinary Surgery co-owner and veterianarian Alan Guilsoyle said the recent case highlighted that lyssavirus was an "ever-present" risk and, given the dense population of flying foxes in the region, it was important for people be vigilant around the animals in town and not put themselves or their pets in a position of danger.

"It's an awareness," Mr Guilsoyle said. "So it's one in 100 or even two in 200 (with the virus), so when you've got a population of 1000 that's a lot isn't it?

"We can co-exist with animals with a lot of these things, but you don't go swimming in a pool full of crocodiles, or shark-infested water. It's about common sense in awareness.

"If you are not vaccinated for rabies you are human health risk.

"And you don't put yourself in danger, human health is precious."

Mr Guilsoyle said the outlook for animals that started treatment for lyssavirus early was quite positive, but it was important to seek help as soon as possible.

"You might be accused of being overactive in a lot of cases, but it's better to be safe," he said.

Isaac Regional Council flying fox info

  • To assist in the best possible outcome for natural migration, Isaac Regional Council advises residents to:
  • Not to disturb the colony at any time.
  • Notify council immediately if flying foxes move to roost in your trees during the day.
  • Be aware flying foxes may 'hop' to other trees.
  • Allow them to rest and follow all direction provided by Council.
  • To report a splinter colony please contact council's Environmental Services Department on 1300 ISAACS (472 227).

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