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Can I get sick from flying-foxes?

Flying foxes pose no major health risks to humans - unless you are bitten or scratched by one. Human infections from flying foxes are very rare. There are no confirmed cases of anyone ever getting sick by touching flying-fox faeces, urine or blood, but of course you should still wash your hands after touching anything like that. We recommend never touching flying foxes unless you are specifically trained or vaccinated against Lyssavirus.

Find out more about bats and health risks on the NSW Health website at https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/flying-foxes-questions.aspx

Advice from the  NSW  Public Health Unit is:

  • Do not attempt to touch or handle live or dead flying foxes
  • Only trained, vaccinated bat handlers should attempt to catch injured or sick bats
  • If you encounter a sick, injured or dead bat, contact the experts at your local wildlife rescue service FAWNA on 6581 4141.
  • If you are bitten or scratched, gently but thoroughly wash the wound straight away with soap and water for at least 5 minutes. Use an antiseptic, such as Betadine and see a doctor as soon as possible.


This page was last updated on: 23 June 2020