Ucluelet man Gilbert Deforge is recovering after being bitten by what doctors believe to have been a bat on Sept. 19, 2019, possibly exposing him to the rabies virus. (Gilbert Deforge/Submitted)

Ucluelet man recovering after bat bite, possible rabies exposure

Gilbert Deforge was enjoying a late-night fire with friends when he suddenly felt a burning pain

A Ucluelet man is recovering after being bitten by a bat.

Gilbert Deforge told Black Press Media he was hanging out by a late-night fire with friends last Thursday when he felt a sudden burning pain on his leg.

He ran inside to roll up his sweatpants and have a look, and found two puncture marks.

A bat had been flying around the fire, but Deforge said he didn’t think it would bite him without being provoked.

Thinking he’d been bitten by a spider, his wife called him an ambulance and he was rushed to hospital in Tofino.

After speaking with doctors, he realized “it would have to have been a three-foot-by-three-foot spider” to give him that bite.

He was told he’d probably been bitten by the bat, and given half a dozen shots in case the bat had rabies.

“That was brutal,” he said.

He’s due for his last shot on Oct. 2.

“Other than that, I’m feeling pretty good,” he said, adding that his leg is still a bit swollen and sore.

Doctors told him to watch for symptoms of rabies such as hallucinations, restlessness or muscle spasms. He also had a CT scan and doctors said he seemed out of the woods.

Still, he said it was a good thing he went to the hospital so quickly. “It could have been a lot worse.”

READ MORE: B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Back in May, a man died after coming into contact with a bat, also on Vancouver Island. His infection was the first case of human rabies in the province since 2003.

According to the Ministry of Health, about 13 per cent of bats tested in the province come back positive for rabies.

Anyone who comes in contact with a bat should immediately wash the area with soap and water, even if there is no obvious bite or scratch, and consult a healthcare provider immediately for a vaccine to prevent infection.

READ MORE: Bat from Denman Island tests positive for rabies

Deforge said he is worried about his dog getting bitten as well, considering bats’ recent “very strange behaviour.”

He said he’s seen them swoop down at deer near his property, and that his landlord has complained of bats dive as if to attack.

“If they’re going to attack people, they’ll definitely attack a pet,” he said. “Obviously something is going on with them. They need to be checked.”

Mandy Kellner, provincial coordinator BC Community Bat Program, responded to Deforge’s concerns.

“I have not received any other reports about increasingly aggressive bats in B.C.,” Kellner told Black Press Media. “There are certainly an increasing number of people and a loss of natural habitat, and so I would expect that people and wildlife that adapt to human presence may encounter each other more frequently.”

— With files from Nina Grossman



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

ARTS AROUND: Art exhibit showcases the new and retrospective

Celtic Chaos fundraising performance has been cancelled

LOOK BACK: The men who built the first Stamp Falls fish ladder

Delve into Alberni Valley history with the Alberni Valley Museum online

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

ALBERNI GOLF: Van Lent gets hole in one

Next Sunday, Oct. 4 will be the windup for Sunday morning golf for this crazy year of 2020

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

B.C. salmon farm opponents demand answers from DFO

First Nations, conservation groups dismayed by omission of sea lice in risk assessments

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

First Nations Health Authority chief medical officer concerned with rising COVID-19 cases

“There’s still so much we don’t know and we’re learning everyday about this particular virus.”

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Most Read