Rabid bat in Mokena is Will County’s fourth case this year
September 4, 2013 2:22PM
Updated: October 7, 2013 12:41PM
A live bat found on the floor of a bedroom closet in a Mokena home has become Will County’s fourth confirmed case of wildlife rabies this year.
Residents of the home on Midland Avenue saw the bat Aug. 27, covered it with a towel and notified animal control officials, who captured and shipped it to the Illinois Department of Public Health for laboratory analysis. Rabies was confirmed Aug. 29 and family members elected to have postexposure rabies treatment, according to the Will County Health Department.
“We are now right in the middle of the prime season for bat activity and that means people need to exercise extreme caution if contact with a bat is suspected,” Will County animal control administrator Lee Schild said in a press release. “Bats found on the ground are a special reason for concern because diseased bats typically have trouble flying. Any contact with a bat is a potential rabies exposure that should be reported to the most appropriate animal control authority as soon as possible.”
Human rabies is a vaccine-preventable disease which is almost universally fatal in unimmunized persons, the release said. There is no substitute for seeking timely medical intervention after a suspected rabies virus exposure, according to the county health department.
“There were no pets involved in this specific incident but it is worth noting that making sure pets are regularly vaccinated is an important factor in minimizing the human rabies threat,” Schild said in the release. “Pet vaccinations are really the first line of defense against the potential for rabies transmission to humans.”
Will is one of at least 12 Illinois counties to report wildlife rabies this year. Last year, the county set a local record with 12 confirmed wildlife exposures.
Residents can contact Will County Animal Control 24 hours a day at (815) 462-5633.