There are over 1,200 bat species around the world, 18 of which are resident in the UK. Dwelling in caves, tree cavities and foliage, attics, old barns and other suitable environments, bats form an important part of the world’s ecosystem. They are, however, also associated with a variety of diseases that could be fatal to humans.
Bats and diseases
Typically transmitted by being bitten by a bat or contact with bat saliva or droppings, better known as guano, these diseases include:
- Marburg haemorrhagic fever
- Ebola haemorrhagic fever
- Nipah virus encephalitis
- Hendra virus disease
Lyssaviruses are responsible for causing rabies, including several African and Asian viruses primarily linked to these animals that are not preventable through current rabies vaccines, and other potentially fatal diseases.
Many species of bat are also known to carry coronaviruses, which typically only cause a mild respiratory illness, but have been linked to outbreaks of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in South-east Asia.
More detailed information on all of the above diseases, where the bat species responsible for spreading them are most commonly found and how to prevent them can be found at cdc.gov.
In many cases, bat-related diseases are contracted while exploring, studying or diving in caves inhabited by these otherwise quite harmless animals or while participating in activities taking them into close proximity to their habitats. For many people, this means they are most at risk of being made ill by a bat while they are on holidays abroad.
Travel companies have the legal duty to protect their customers against personal injuries. This includes preventing infections by bat bites, guano or saliva as much as it includes preventing injuries by slips, trips and falls or other travel accidents.
In other words, holiday makers about to embark on guided tours of caves, for instance, should at least be made aware of the presence of bats, the potential risk they represent and how to avoid contracting diseases linked to bats.
If you were made ill by a bat because you were not informed of the risk and how to prevent infections or if you had any other kind of holiday accident, like a slip, trip or fall, for example, you could be entitled to travel accident compensation.
Confirm your eligibility to make a claim by calling 0800 689 0500 from your landline, or 0333 500 0993 from your mobile, and talking to one of our knowledgeable advisors here at Accident Advice Helpline.
Date Published: April 6, 2016
Author: Accident Advice