The McHenry County Department of Health has reported its second rabid bat of the season.
The bat was found by a homeowner on August 13 outside a dog run at an Island Lake residence, according to a county news release.
There was no human exposure to the animal, the release stated.
This incident supports the need for pet owners to keep their animals up to date on rabies vaccinations, county spokeswoman Debra Quackenbush said.
In order for county officials to test bats for rabies, the animals must be in good condition (head in tact), either alive or recently deceased.
Statewide, 23 rabid bats have been reported in eight counties and the city of Chicago, Quackenbush said.
Last year, McHenry County reported two rabid bats; bats reported statewide totaled 63.
The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure, according to the release.
Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system and can only be confirmed in a laboratory. Keeping cats and dogs current with vaccinations will not only keep them from getting rabies, but also provide a barrier of protection for residents if their animal is bitten by a rabid animal.
Most bats leave in the fall or winter to hibernate so these are the best times to "bat-proof" your home. A fact sheet on bat exclusion can be viewed at www.mcdh.info.
Residents are encouraged to take a “hands off” approach to wild animals to reduce their risk of exposure.
Children should also be educated about 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.
To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.
Questions about exposure should be directed to MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500.