Lawrence M. Walsh
Will County health officials said a fourth rabid bat has been reported. The bat was found alive on July 27 near an outdoor pond at a residence in Custer Park. There was no human exposure.
The resident noticed the bat lying on the ground near the pond and used a rake to push the bat into a bucket. A family of four with three dogs lives in the residence. The Will County Health Department and Animal Control were notified and retrieved the bat for rabies testing. The bat tested positive for rabies on July 28.
Animal Control is working with the family to determine if any of the dogs were exposed to rabies. Only one of the dogs is current on its rabies vaccinations.
Will County residents are again reminded to follow these guidelines to protect themselves and their families from rabies:
- Do not feed, touch or adopt wild animals or stray dogs or cats.
- Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans, so be sure dogs and cats are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. Consult with your veterinarian about when your pet needs to be vaccinated.
- Do not allow pets to roam free.
- Do not attract wild animals to your home or yard. Store bird seed or other animal feed in containers with tight-fitting lids. Feed pets indoors. Make sure garbage cans are tightlyclosed. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cover chimneys with screens.
- Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal. Teach children not to approach or to touch any animal they do not know.
- Report all animal bites to the local animal control.
If a wild animal comes on your property, let it wander away. Bring children and pets indoors and alert neighbors. If the animal is acting abnormally (nocturnal animal around during daylight hours, animal having trouble walking, etc.) you should contact your local animal control.
July, August and September are prime months for area bat exposures. Report any contact with a bat, or other warm-blooded animals to the nearest Animal Control authority as soon as possible. Will County Animal Control is available 24 hours daily at 815-462-5633.
For more information, visit the website: www.willcountyhealth.org.