McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) confirms a rabid bat was found on December 10, in a Crystal Lake residence. There was a confirmed human exposure so rabies treatment has begun. Homeowners who find bats in their homes should contain the bat in a room by closing the door or placing a blanket on it and immediately call Animal Control (815-459-6222). In order to test bats for rabies, it is important they be in good condition (i.e. head is intact) – either alive or recently deceased. Specimens in good condition that test negative for rabies eliminates the need for rabies treatment following human exposure. Only in cases of confirmed exposure will bats be submitted for testing.
The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure. For questions about exposure or to determine the need for treatment, call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Program at 815-334-4500. Rabies is a fatal disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system and can only be confirmed in a laboratory. 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. 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 ved 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/