Flying fox scratch or bite could kill you, NSW Health warns

NSW Health is pleading with people not to handle any bats or flying foxes with bare hands, as this increases the chance of being bitten or scratched.

"Lyssavirus infection can result in a rabies-like illness which is very serious and, if not prevented, is fatal.

There have been three human cases of lyssavirus in Australia (all were in Queensland) and all three people died," Greg Bell, Assistant Director of Public Health for Northern NSW and Mid North Coast Local Health Districts, said.

Only people who have received training and have been fully vaccinated should handle bats.

The warning follows the mass death of flying foxes at Casino from a heat wave and efforts to save hundreds of flying fox pups.