Rabid Bat Found in Bedroom Closet, Health Department Says

The animal is Will County's fourth case of wildlife rabies this year; other cases have been confirmed in Plainfield and Joliet.

A rabid bat found in a home in Mokena last week is the fourth confirmed case in Will County, according to health officials.

Other cases have been confirmed in Joliet and in Plainfield, where a live bat was trapped near the front door of a home on Dan Ireland Drive.

The Will County Health Department issued a warning this week after residents at a home on Midland Avenue in Mokena spied a live bat on the floor of a bedroom closet.

The homeowner covered the bat with a towel and immediately notified animal control officials. 

The bat was subsequently captured and shipped to the Illinois Department of Public Health for laboratory analysis. Rabies was confirmed August 29, according to the health department.

No pets were involved, but four people live on the property. After some deliberation, the family elected to begin post-exposure rabies treatment. Will County Animal Control Administrator Lee Schild said September and October are peak months for bat activity.

"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," Schild said. 

"Bats found on the ground are a special reason for concern because diseased bats typically have trouble flying. Remember, 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. There is no substitute for seeking timely medical intervention after a suspected rabies virus exposure.

"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 added. "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 activity during 2013. Will County set a local record with 12 confirmed wildlife exposures in 2012.

Area residents may access Will County Animal Control 24 hours daily at 815-462-5633.


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