TIME TO ACT: Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones says a dangerous bat colony must go.
TIME TO ACT: Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones says a dangerous bat colony must go. Claudia Baxter

Lyssavirus virus "straight out of the bowels of hell"

ON THE same day as a hendra case was announced in Lowood the Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones began a push for a reduction of bat numbers to prevent the spread of lyssavirus.

Cr Jones said reducing bat numbers could help saves lives.

"Lyssavirus is like something straight out of the bowels of hell. It's a horrific disease and once symptoms show, it's almost a guaranteed death sentence," he said.

"The disease spread by Australian bats, can sit idle for months before becoming active, victims frothing at the mouth and displaying superhuman strength before their bodies shut down.

"In the case of an eight-year-old north Queensland boy, a bat swooped down and scratched him, a few months later he would die. The attack, totally unprovoked, highlights the urgent need to cull bats that are roosting close to people. It's time government put people before bats and I for one am sick and tired of the rhetoric.

"In the Lockyer Valley we have a number of bat colonies located near schools, pre schools and aged care facilities, and I for one will not sit back and wait for another person to die before we actually do something about the problem."

Cr Jones said previous attempts to reduce the bat population in the Lockyer Valley had been stopped by red tape.

"We have tried for years to remove local bat colonies only to be stonewalled by bureaucratic red tape at every turn and enough is enough," he said.

"I can't remember hearing of a kangaroo spreading a killer disease, yet we kill thousands of them every year, yet we can't cull vermin that harbours a known killer disease.

"The Queensland Government has issued a discussion paper on managing flying fox roosts but again has failed to address the problem.

"If they want local government to address the issue, then get out of our way and let us do the job and start the culling process."

Bat lyssavirus

  • All three confirmed cases of bat lyssavirus disease have been fatal.
  • The virus is closely related to the rabies virus.
  • It was first discovered in Ballina in northern NSW in January 1995.


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