McHenry County Department of Health
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Health Department reports rabid bat with possible human exposure

Post Date:09/24/2019 8:19 AM

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

WOODSTOCK IL – McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) confirms a rabid bat was recently identified in Harvard. So far in 2019, 48 rabid bats were reported in Illinois, with two reported in McHenry County. Only in cases of possible human or animal exposure are bats tested.

The bat was tested after it was determined to have come in contact with a human. The individual identified as an exposure to the positive bat has started appropriate treatment. The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure. Rabies is a fatal viral disease that can only be confirmed in a laboratory. For questions about exposure or to determine the need for treatment, call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500.

Never touch a bat with bare hands. Using a shovel or plastic bag ensures no direct contact. If a bat is found inside, contain it 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. Call Animal Control immediately (815-459-6222) if you, a family member, or a pet has had direct contact with a bat. To test bats for rabies, it is important the bat be in good condition with the head intact.

Keeping cats and dogs up to date with vaccinations will not only keep them from getting rabies but also provide a barrier of protection for you if your animal is bitten by a rabid animal. 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. To learn more about rabies prevention, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

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