The number of rabid bats is growing in the suburban Cook County region. The Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is warning residents to always avoid contact with bats.
People should assume that bats found in the home may be carriers of rabies. Great care should be taken to avoid any direct contact. If the animal is not laboratory tested, post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may need to be administered to the persons in the home. If laboratory testing on the bat is negative for rabies, no vaccine will need to be given.
Parents should teach children to never touch a bat that is lying on the ground. The bat may not be dead, just ill, and could bite.
Pet owners should be on the alert for bats near their homes, because pets that spend time outdoors can easily come into contact with these animals. Rabies can be avoided in pets by vaccination, which is why a rabies vaccination is required for dogs, cats and ferrets.
Rabies can be spread by the bite or scratch of an infected bat or if infectious material from a rabid animal, such as saliva, comes in contact with one’s nose, mouth, an open wound, or gets directly into the eyes.
In Buffalo Grove, residents needing assistance should contact the following 24-hour private animal agencies that are trained in working with bats: