An Australian woman holidaying in Cairns was bitten by a bat and is now at risk of having the potentially fatal lyssavirus.
Sandi Galloway, from Geelong in Victoria, was walking back to her hotel late at night in the tropical city with friends when she was bitten by the creature.
She could feel something flying around her head and waved her hand before it nipped her.
“Next thing, I felt this sting, like two pinpricks on my forehead,” she told Cairns Post.
Ms Galloway told the newspaper she was waiting results to see if she had lyssavirus, which she believes is likely due to her symptoms.
There have been three known cases of lyssavirus in Australia, all in Queensland.
A woman, who had recently become a bat handler, died in 1996 from the virus, which was followed by the death of another woman in 1988 and an eight-year-old boy in 2013, according to the CSIRO.
Surveys of wild bat populations have indicated less than one per cent of bats carry lyssavirus (ABLV), according to the Queensland Government.
However, it says it must be assumed any bat in Australia could be infectious.
ABLV is closely related to the rabies virus and can cause serious illness in humans which results in paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death.
Frighteningly, there is no known effective treatment once symptoms have started, and symptoms can appear weeks or even years after someone is bitten or scratched by an infected bat.
People who have been exposed can have rabies vaccine injections to develop antibodies that will recognise and kill the virus before it has time to cause illness.
When Ms Galloway got home from her trip, she visited her GP who referred her to the hospital, who then called the infectious diseases department.
She told Cairns Post she had five injections on Wednesday and will have three more rounds over the next three weeks.
“If I miss an injection, I have to start the whole process again,” she said.
“I have to reschedule my MRI because I had a brain tumour and I go for yearly check ups to make sure it’s dormant, but I can’t do the MRI while taking this course of treatment.”
Ms Galloway wants the bats removed from Cairns’ CBD and relocated.