Billy Nel's wounds after being attacked by a bat while jogging.
Billy Nel's wounds after being attacked by a bat while jogging. Supplied by Mackay Hospital and Health Service

Man attacked by bat while out running

THE Mackay Hospital and Health Service are warning people about the threat of lyssavirus if they are bitten or scratched by a bat.  

The warning comes after Northern Beaches resident Billy Nel was attacked while running in Eimeo two weeks ago.   

The keen distance runner was training when he felt claws grab his back.  

"I thought it was a bird and reached around to brush it off but it was a bat and it latched onto my hand," he said.  

"I was shaking my arm vigorously - it didn't want to let go - eventually I shook it off and watched it crawl away," Billy said.  

Bats can carry Australian bat lyssavirus which is transmitted via saliva of infected bats when they bite or scratch humans.   

Two weeks later, Mr Nel is due for his fourth rabies vaccination.   

The Mackay Hospital and Health Service are reminding people there are two simple steps about how to avoid the lyssavirus disease:  

• don't handle bats unless you are trained in handling them and vaccinated against rabies

• if you are bitten or scratched by a bat, wash the wound thoroughly and seek immediate medical advice about injections to protect you against infection.  


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