Bat diseases and parasites

The prevalence of diseases in Alberta's bat population is extremely low and any risks to humans can be easily avoided.

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Alberta's bats carry very few parasites or diseases, but care should be taken around them due to concerns about rabies and other illnesses.

Learn about rabies and its impact on bat species populations in the province.

The Alberta government is taking measures to prevent the spread into Alberta of this emerging disease that kills bats.

Like all species, whether wild or domestic, bats have their own suite of parasites and diseases that live inside or on the outside of individual bats or are found in association with bats.

Bats and the Spread of Disease

Despite a bad reputation, bats generally do not have any more or any fewer diseases than other wild species. The bad rep comes from the association with vampire bats (Desmodontinae), which, of course, we do not have in Alberta.

The prevalence of diseases in bats in Alberta is extremely low and any risks to humans easily can be avoided. Although bats should be handled with caution, the widespread eradication of bats to eliminate a human health hazard is thoroughly unjustified in Alberta.

Additional information about human health concerns in association with bats is provided at

White-nose Syndrome and Bat Health

There are few diseases or parasites of bats in North America that threaten the health of bat populations. White-nose syndrome is an exception.

White-nose Syndrome is a cold-loving fungus that grows in caves and transfers onto wintering bats. It is associated with the death of many, many thousands of bats in eastern North America, prompting preventative measures to be adopted in the Province of Alberta and elsewhere in the west.

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