The Will County Health Department recommended rabies treatment for a Joliet woman Tuesday, after one of two live bats taken from her apartment was confirmed rabid.
trapped both bats in the living room of an apartment in the St. Pat's neighborhood of Joliet
The apartment is an older structure and although it is not known how the bats gained access, it was probably a structural issue.
"It's our understanding that these bats had been seen around there previously," Vic Reato, Will County health media Services manager said. "That suggests that there may be a structural issue."
The bats were taken to Will County Animal Control for shipment to the Illinois Department of Public Health. On Tuesday, Will County Infectious Disease Control and animal control officials learned that one of the bats tested positive for rabies.
The treatment for rabies is one shot four times in a 14-day period, Reato said. The shot is given on day zero, day three, day seven and day 14.
In addition to the woman, a dog and a cat also live in the apartment, but both pets are current on their rabies vaccinations.
Rabies is an infectious viral disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected warm-blooded animal. If not treated promptly, rabies in humans is virtually always fatal. Although a number of animals can carry rabies, in Illinois, bats remain the primary carrier.
"There hasn't been a raccoon positive in the state in years," Reato said. "It's all bats.
"In other parts of the country it is raccoons. Here, previously, it was skunks."
All 52 of the Illinois animals that tested positive for rabies through August 22 were bats. Will County is one of 24 Illinois jurisdictions to have a wildlife rabies confirmation this year.
"It's not that they are bad animals, it's just that we're not meant to share the area with them," Reato said. "It's not really the bat's fault."
Will County Animal Control is available 24 hours daily at 815-462-5633.