McHenry County Department of Health
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Post Date:06/01/2018 11:13 AM

Contact Keri Zaleski
815-334-4456; cell 815-236-3238

WOODSTOCK IL – A bat that tested positive for rabies was recently found outside a Wonder Lake home.  No human exposure was reported, although potential exposure to two dogs found playing with the bat is being taken into consideration.   Keeping pets (even those who stay indoors) up to date with vaccinations will not only keep them from getting rabies but also provide a barrier of protection for people if a rabid animal bites a pet. 

According to Maryellen Howell, Manager of McHenry County Department of Health’s Veterinary Public Health Division, “Whether a bat is found inside or outside your home, avoid touching it with bare hands.  Using a shovel or plastic bag ensures no direct contact. For a bat found inside, contain the bat in a room by closing the door. If you find a bat outside and think there has been exposure to a person or pet or if the bat is injured, place an upside down bucket over the bat if possible.  In both cases, immediately call Animal Control (815-459-6222).  To test bats for rabies, it is important the bat be in good condition (i.e. head is intact) and either alive or recently deceased. 

Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, only confirmed by laboratory testing.  The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure.  A bat that is active by day, found in a place where bats are not usually seen (such as in your home or on the lawn) or is unable to fly, is potentially rabid. People should take a “hands off” approach to all wild animals to reduce their risk of exposure.  Children should also be educated to avoid handling wild animals.  Bats are a protected species and part of the natural habitat.

 If you have questions about exposure, call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500. To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at


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