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 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

A rendering of Front Street transportation improvements set to get underway as soon as next week. (McElhanney image/City of Nanaimo)
Work set to start on Front Street cycle track in downtown Nanaimo

Road work and street reconfiguration project scheduled to start in March, finish in May

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ business committee is recommending busing for the Rutherford and Frank J. Ney elementary school area be retained. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo school trustees vote against cutting Rutherford-Frank J. Ney bus route

Staff report points to yearly transportation budget deficits

Nanaimo RCMP seek help in locating Shannon Lettington, 35. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo RCMP searching for missing 35-year-old woman

Shannon Lettington, of Nanaimo, has not contacted her family since October

This month Christy Blom’s Springtime show is on display at Art 10 Gallery. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo painter welcomes spring with watercolour exhibition

Christy Blom presents month-long ‘Springtime’ show at Art 10 Gallery

Lucas Philp, senior fish culturist at Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery, packs up pipes and hoses used to transfer trout from the transport truck into lakes, shortly after releasing about 500 rainbow trout into Colliery Dam No. 3 lake Wednesday. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
There are fresh fish to catch in Nanaimo’s lakes

Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery released thousands of catchable-size rainbow trout this week

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Beef to the plow driver who completely soaked me in dirty slush at the bus stop at Fifth and Hillcrest. I could tell you were driving quite fast so I tried to back up as far as the snowbank would allow but you did not slow down. I am 68 and had to pick up a prescription and had no choice but to continue on soaking wet.
Beefs & Bouquets, March 3

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read