Search for children who may have handled infected bat

Four children seen playing with an infected bat are wanted by Queensland health officials amid concerns the ramifications could be deadly. 

The children were seen playing with a bat near the Queens Park Nature Centre in Ipswich on February 3. 

West Moreton Health issued a public health alert late last week, asking for help to identify the children, believed to be aged between two and 13. 

Catherine Quagliotto says efforts to find the children have so far been unsuccessful.

“Unfortunately, we are still trying to locate these children, as we need to determine as soon as possible whether they have had contact with the bat,” Dr Quagliotto said on Monday.

“If they are infected with ABLV, immediate action is so important, even if they are not displaying symptoms. Once symptoms appear, there is no known effective treatment."

Several bats in the area have tested positive to Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV), a disease similar to rabies and fatal in humans.

It can be transmitted to humans through a bat’s saliva, usually by a scratch or bite.

It does not spread through the air.

Early symptoms of ABLV can be flu-like including headache, fever, weakness and fatigue. Symptoms can quickly progress to sensory changes, confusion, convulsion, and loss of consciousness.

Anyone who believes their child may have been exposed to a bat must act quickly by calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for immediate advice.

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