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Vancouver Island man dies after exposure to rabies

A Vancouver Island man has died after he was infected with rabies.

Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry has confirmed a rare case of rabies has infected and killed a B.C man after he came into contact with a bat in May of this year.

He developed rabies-like symptoms six weeks later.

The Ministry of Health says while the exposure was on Vancouver Island, bats throughout all areas of B.C. could carry rabies.

To ensure privacy for the family, no further information on the man will be released.

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Those who cared to the man, including health-care workers and family members are being assessed and given post-exposure measures if needed.

The ministry says if you come in contact with a bat (even if there is no obvious bite or scratch), wash the area with soap and water. Then consult a health-care provider or local public health department immediately.

It also reminds British Columbia residents to vaccinate pets, as they could be exposed to the infection as well.

Overall, in Canada, there have been only 24 known cases since the 1920s. The most recent cases in Canada were in Ontario in 2012 and Alberta in 2007.

The last case of human rabies in B.C. was in 2003.

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