Conservationists say it appears the Queensland Government is gearing up for a bat cull after an eight-year-old died from lyssavirus on Friday.

He is the third person to have died from the disease in Australia.

Queensland Health says the boy developed serious symptoms several weeks ago after he came into contact with a bat in December.

Premier Campbell Newman says the public should know details of where the incident occurred.

He says the State Government is already working with local governments, including the Charters Towers Council in North Queensland, to deal with the problem.

"We are prepared to put the health and safety of Queenslanders before bats and we make no apologies for that," he said.

"We will always stand up for people ahead of bats, I'm afraid, and that has to be the case."

Bat Rescue and Conservation Queensland president Louise Saunders says the Premier is signalling there could be a cull.

"We always knew that once there was another Australian bat lyssavirus death of a human it would be very serious for flying foxes," she said.

"We are just asking people to have a bit of calm and understand that flying foxes are all around us and we need them - they perform an ecological role in our environment."

She says culling will not reduce the threat.

"Culling and dispersal is an overreaction," she said.

"There's no need to cull flying foxes. They perform a very important role; they are our pollinators and seed dispersers for rainforest and hardwood forest industry."

Australian bat lyssavirus, which is closely related but not identical to the rabies virus, was first discovered in 1996.

There is no treatment for the disease, which results in paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death.

Queensland Health says the best protection is to avoid handling flying foxes.

 

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