Local News

Rabid bat identified in Woodstock home as bat activity increases

McHenry County Department of Health reminds residents the best way to protect against rabies is to avoid exposure

The McHenry County Animal Control office in Crystal Lake is photographed Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.

A rabid bat was found Tuesday in a Woodstock home, leading the McHenry County Department of Health issue a reminder Friday on how the public can best protect itself from rabies.

The McHenry County Department of Health “wants to remind the public and pet owners that the best way to protect their families from rabies – both humans and their four-legged friends – is to avoid being exposed,” it said in a statement.

The Woodstock residents exposed to the rabid animal were referred to a local emergency department to begin post-exposure prophylaxis treatment, according to a news release. A family dog in the home was also exposed to the bat and is being observed for symptoms.

People usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal, the health department said. The rabies virus is transmitted through direct contact – such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth – with saliva or brain or nervous system tissue from an infected animal.

Rabies can be fatal in humans if left untreated. A four-series treatment that includes immunoglobulins and vaccine should be administered as soon as possible after the exposure.

If a bat is found in the home, the health department recommends containing the bat in a room by closing the door or placing a blanket on it and immediately calling Animal Control at (815) 459-6222. For reliable rabies testing to be done, it is important the animal be in good condition, in particular its head intact, and either alive or recently deceased.

McHenry County residents who find a bat in their home and come into contact with it or were in the same room as the animal while sleeping should contact Animal Control and their physician.

Many types of bats have small teeth, which may leave marks that disappear quickly, the health department said.

The McHenry County Department of Health also encouraged pet owners to be aware of the importance of rabies vaccination for domestic cats and dogs and if a pet comes in contact with a potentially rabid animal, the owner should contact their family veterinarian who will work in consultation with McHenry County Animal Control to provide appropriate guidance.

More information about preventing exposure to rabid wildlife can be found at MCDH.info.