Far North boy's bat bite terror
AN Innisfail mother is facing the week from hell as she anxiously watches over her son after he was bitten by a bat in his bedroom.
Nicholas Shale, 7, was climbing into bed about 9pm on Monday when the micro-bat flew out from under the covers and bit his right hand.
Mother Sam rushed him to Innisfail Hospital, where doctors treated the bleeding wound, but did not have access to the rabies vaccine.
"It just flew out and bit me, I was pretty scared," the East Innisfail Year 2 student said.
Yesterday, they made an urgent drive to Cairns where Nicholas received the first of a three-shot course, although Ms Shale said it could take a week for symptoms to appear if the bat had been carrying the deadly lyssavirus.
"I just threw him into my arms and went downstairs," she said. "I'm not saying that it's definitely infected, but if it is, my son is doomed," she said.
The attack comes as an eight-year-old Cairns boy fights for his life in a Brisbane hospital after contracting the rabies-like virus from a bat during a holiday at the Whitsundays.
While this is only the third confirmed case of Australian bat lyssavirus in Australia, Ms Shale said it was time the Governmentremoved the animals from suburban areas.
"As you would do as a mother, I was hysterical over some feral animal biting my child," she said.
"How many children are going to be bitten? What if it was infected and, worst-case scenario, my son dies? What else is it going to take?"
A Queensland Health spokeswoman confirmed earlier in the week Cairns Base Hospital was among the hospitals to receive extra supplies of a rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin.
Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland president Louise Saunders said that only .005 per cent of healthy flying foxes carried the disease, with that number rising to 6 per cent when the animals were sick.
In The Cairns Post's recent State of the Far North reader survey, more than half of the respondents said they supported the culling of flying foxes in populated areas.
About a quarter supported a "leave and let live" approach.
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Shock attack: Nicholas Shale, 7, displays the hand bitten by a bat in his bedroom.