Lyssavirus scare after bat flies into Toowoomba man's head
DAVID Cronberger was walking his dog down a suburban Toowoomba street when a flying fox careened into his head.
It left just a small scratch above his left eye, so he pushed it to the back of his mind.
Only the pleading of his wife convinced him of how serious the tiny nick could become.
He is now halfway through a painful series of injections as doctors ensure he does not contract lyssavirus - a potentially fatal disease from the same group of viruses as rabies.
The mechanic decided to tell his story so others who find themselves in the same boat do not play down the gravity of the situation.
"It was a worrying time for my wife... she was very upset," Mr Cronberger said.
"But if I don't show any symptoms, I should be alright.
"I just want people to know that if it happens to them, they need to see a doctor."
Mr Cronberger was on a nightly walk with his dog past Fairview Heights State School when his dog spotted the flying fox on a low tree branch.
"It got scared and flew straight into my face," he said.
"I waved my arms around and knocked it to the ground, and then it got back up and flew away."
When, after five days, he was convinced to seek advice from a doctor, he realised just how serious a bat scratch could be.
Lyssavirus can be fatal, with two deaths reported in Australia since its discovery in 1996.
He has had a succession of injections, the most painful of which was a rabies shot to his forehead.
"They measure the injection depending on your weight," he said.
"I needed 13mL, but they could only fit 4mL in my forehead.
"For the rest, I had to get a shot in each arm and each leg."
Mr Cronberger is due to receive his last shots next Tuesday, but so far looks to be in the clear.
His advice will be especially prudent over the coming months as Toowoomba Regional Council seeks to disperse flying fox colonies at Kearneys Spring, Highfields and Oakey.
A permit has already been approved to scare off the Highfields colony, though work is still under way to gain permission for the remaining two.
No dispersal will occur next February at the earliest, as the protected species are currently in breeding season.