A bat found in a Plainfield backyard is Will County’s eighth confirmed case of wildlife rabies this year.
According to the Will County Health Department, the infected animal was found by a resident in the 24000 block of Brown Lane, but no humans were exposed to the disease.
The resident spotted the bat behind his home and noticed that it had difficulty flying. The bat was captured using a net and trapped inside a bucket while Will County Animal Control was notified.
Animal control took possession of the bat on Sept. 14 and sent it for laboratory analysis.
The health department said it received confirmation from the Illinois Department of Public Health late Monday that the bat tested positive for rabies.
Three people and a dog live on the Brown Lane property, but no one is believed to have been exposed to rabies, according to health officials. The dog is current on its rabies vaccination schedule.
The case is the county’s eighth rabies confirmation this year and the second in Plainfield. On July 6, the health department confirmed that a bat found in the family room of a Bartlett Avenue home tested positive for rabies.
Three rabid bats have also been found in Joliet, along with two in Manhattan and one in Naperville.
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral infection that can be transmitted to humans from the bite or scratch of an infected warm-blooded animal. The disease is almost universally fatal when not treated promptly and properly.
There is no substitute for seeking timely medical intervention after suspected rabies virus exposure, according to the Will County Health Department.
There have been 62 laboratory-confirmed Will County wildlife rabies cases since 2000, including seven in 2011, nine in 2010 and a record-high 11 in 2007. Will is one of at least 24 Illinois counties to report confirmed rabies activity in 2012.
Public health and animal control officials urge area residents to report any contact with wildlife, especially bats, to the nearest animal control jurisdiction as soon as possible. Even suspect bat exposure warrants prompt action.
Bats have been linked to 30 of the 31 most recent U.S. rabies fatalities. The health department urges parents to warn children about the health risks associated with wildlife contact, especially involving bats and skunks.
Will County Animal Control is available 24 hours daily at 815-462-5633.
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