Rabid Bat Found in McHenry County
McHenry County Department of Health reports first rabid bat this year.
A dog had to get a booster shot this week when it came into contact with a bat, McHenry County Department of Health officials said.
It is the first report of a rabid bat in the county, according to a release.
The bat was found July 24 outside a home in McHenry. There was no human contact but exposure to a pet dog.
In 2011, McHenry County ranked third in the State with rabid bats (4); bats reported statewide totaled 50. This year, 18 counties have already reported rabid bats.
Following new reporting guidelines from the State Health Department, only in cases of confirmed exposure will bats be submitted for testing. In order to test bats for rabies, it is important they be in good condition _ either alive or recently deceased.
Specimens in good condition and test negative for rabies eliminates the need for rabies treatment following human exposure.
In wild animal, rabies is more common in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes, but the disease also has been found in deer and in large rodents, such as woodchucks. Cats, dogs and livestock can also get rabies if they are not vaccinated. A rabies fact sheet is available at the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure. Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system and can only be confirmed in a laboratory. Residents are encouraged to take a “hands off” approach to wild animals to reduce their risk of exposure. Parents also need to educate their children of the dangers. A bat that is active by day, found in a place where bats are not usually seen (such as in your home, in a swimming pool or on the lawn) or is unable to fly, is more likely than others to be rabid.
If you see a bat in or near your home, contact the McHenry County Animal Control immediately at 815-459-6222.