Statistics have shown that there are twice as more rabid bats as last year in Illinois, and they might appear in the Chicago area as well.
According to the officials of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the numbers are not high as they increased to 16 positive tests from eight since last year. However, the percentage of positive rabies tests among animals has gone from 2 percent to 5.
Plus, from 40 rabid bats discovered in 2014 in Illinois, their number increased to 97 rabid bats, according to the data from the health department. Connie Austin, an epidemiologist and health department veterinarian, the high numbers this year are concerning so people should be well informed and aware of this issue.
Officials believe that it is too early to jump to conclusions. Nevertheless, summer is the period of the year when wild animals, bats included, become more active so everyone should try to avoid them. Authorities announced a few days ago that rabid bats were found inside homes in LaGrange, Aurora and Arlington Heights, and other two on Chicago’s South Side.
In addition to this, the family in Arlington Heights will get vaccinated because they were exposed to the rabies threat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the five shots series is now injected in the arm and not in the stomach, because even if it is still very expensive, it is at least less painful. The total cost is more than $3,000 and some experts mentioned that it can be even more costly than this if it is injected in an emergency room.
Experts prompt people to avoid approaching or touching a wild animal as rabies is spread through the saliva of infected animals, including skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats. Still, bats are most like to be the primary transmitter of the infection as they usually come in contact with humans.
Moreover, their skull is tiny, allowing them to enter a home through small openings and make nests in attics. Officials warn people to be aware of small and big brown bats in Illinois.
If anyone sees possibly rabid bats in their home or near them, they should contact local health officials or a doctor to come and check the situation. In addition to this, you may try to contain the bat in a bin, box or room only if you can do it safely without touching the animal.
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