IDPH: 79 Bats Test Positive For Rabies — 7 in Kane County
With Halloween coming up soon, there’s a lot of talk and images about bats and vampires, but the truth is, there’s a real danger this year that has nothing to do with myth.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and other area health departments are warning residents to avoid possible exposure to rabies by avoiding contact with bats, especially in your home.
So far in 2018, at least 79 bats have tested positive for rabies statewide, including seven in Kane County.
The nearby Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center sent out a news release this week saying two of 35 bats submitted for testing were positive for rabies: one in Libertyville and one in Gurnee.
“People can receive preventive treatment if they are exposed to an animal infected with rabies,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D. “Although most bats are not infected with rabies, it’s important to avoid handling bats, get and keep your pets vaccinated, and make sure your home has no openings where bats can come in.”
Bats, like all wild animals, should never be handled. Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals or stray dogs or cats.
If you find yourself near a bat (in your home or other indoor area) close the door to the room where the bat is and contact the Kane County Health Department. Staff can help determine if you could have been exposed to rabies and if the bat needs to be tested.
If you are bitten by a bat or other animal, you should seek medical attention immediately. The Kane County Health Department and animal control should also be notified and the animal captured without damaging its head (put a container over it) and only if direct contact with the animal can be avoided.
To keep your pets safe, make sure they are vaccinated and don’t allow them to roam freely. If a wild animal comes on your property, bring children and pets inside and allow the animal to wander away. If the animal is acting abnormally, contact animal control.
Take preventative steps to protect yourself, your family, and pets from bats and rabies:
- Do not touch bats or attempt to remove them from your home.
- Do not feed, touch, or adopt wild animals or stray dogs and cats. Teach children to never handle unfamiliar animals, even if they appear friendly.
- Vaccinate your pets and do not allow them to roam free. If bitten by a rabid bat, pets may develop rabies and present a risk to humans.
- Safeguard your home. Bats can enter existing holes as small as 3/4 inch in diameter. Cover and seal possible access routes, especially around chimneys, vents, doors, windows, and plumbing.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have been bitten or exposed to a bat.
SOURCE: IDPH news release