Covid-19 Updates

Health Department Reports Bat Positive for Rabies

DATE: August 29, 2022

To: DeKalb County News Media

FROM: DeKalb County Health Department


Health Department Reports Bat Positive for Rabies

DeKalb County Health Department confirms that a second bat for 2022 tested positive for rabies on August 29th. The bat bit a person in Sycamore on Saturday, who is now receiving rabies prophylaxis.

Bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Illinois. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground and unable to fly, may be rabid, however you cannot tell by looking at a bat if it is rabid. The animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies. If a bat is found indoors, and you are able to do so without putting yourself at risk for physical contact or being bitten, try to cover the bat with a large can or bucket, and close the door to the room.

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Humans can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal. Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into the eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. Without preventive treatment, rabies is a fatal disease. If you have been bitten or exposed to a bat, seek immediate medical attention. Bat bites may not be felt while sleeping, and special consideration also needs to be taken when a bat is found in a child’s room or in a disabled person’s living area. Preventive treatment with rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin immediately.

The following tips can help prevent the spread of rabies:

• Be a responsible pet owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all pets (indoor/outdoor).
• If a bat is in your home, do not release the bat outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials.
• Seek immediate veterinary assistance if your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat.
• Do not handle, feed or attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
• Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. “Love your own, leave other animals alone” is a good principle for children to learn to reduce the risk of exposures to rabid animals.
• Maintain homes and other buildings so bats cannot gain entry.
• All animal bites to humans that occur in DeKalb County must be reported to: DeKalb County Animal Control at (815) 748-2427.