Health director warns: Avoid contact with bats

from Illinois DNR

from Illinois DNR

Bats are most active at this time of year, meaning more people are exposed to them and the danger of potential exposure to rabies.

“Bats are the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois and already this year, 52 bats have tested positive for rabies in 24 counties,” said a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health.  “People usually know when they have been bitten by a bat, but bats have very small teeth and the bite mark may not be easy to see.”

A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground or is unable to fly is more likely than others to be rabid.  Children should be warned against petting or trying to help a wild or unfamiliar animal.

The rabies virus affects the nervous systems of humans and other mammals.  It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected animal or when saliva from a rabid animal gets into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or a wound.

Any wild animal can have rabies and can transmit it to humans.  The animal does not have to be aggressive or show symptoms to have rabies.

Information about preventing bats from getting into buildings is online at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbats.htm.

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