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)

B.C. 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

‘Schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

LETTER: Want more than a promise that Highway 1 will eventually be upgraded

What is the stance of the candidates for the B.C. election?

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read