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

Robert’s column
Robert Barron column: New hospital shouldn’t charge for parking

Paying a parking meter is the last thing people visiting a hospital should have to worry about.

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

Asparagus root, dug up from the old patch and ready to be transplanted. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Some tips on growing asparagus

When choosing asparagus I recommend buying male plants for juicier, plumper spears.

If you’re looking for a goat time, visit Russell Farms Market! (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Looking for a goat time on Good Friday

If you drive by the farm market a little slower you see the goat pen.

The McCloskey-Hydro Rain Garden, located in a sunny Hydro corridor and receiving about 2.5 million litres of rainwater runoff per year from the roof of nearby McCloskey Elementary School. (Deborah Jones photo)
A&E column: From nature to poetry to puppets, there’s plenty afoot

What’s going on in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment scene

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, was filming near Prospect Lake in Saanich last month. (Photo courtesy Fred Haynes)
Province announces $150,000 towards South Island film studio, fulfilling B.C. NDP promise

Investment to fund movie studio feasibility study at Camosun College

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read