BATAVIA – A bat found in a yard in Batavia has tested positive for rabies, according to county health officials.
Tom Schlueter, spokesman for the Kane County Health Department, said the bat was tested last weekend, but there has been no human exposure. He said it’s the first case in Kane County this year.
“If a bat is acting abnormally, you would want to contact the police department or animal control and have them try to collect it,” he said. “Typically, [a rabid bat] is on the ground, kind of flopping around. It’s not behaving normally.”
Bats that are outside during the day or cannot fly might be infected with rabies, according to a news release from the Kane County Health Department.
One rabid bat has been found in Kane County each year since 2011, Schlueter said. In 2010, five bats tested positive for rabies and five people might have been exposed to that bat. In 2009, six bats were found with one case of human exposure. The year before that, nine bats tested positive with three cases of exposure.
Schlueter explained exposure means someone might have knowingly or unknowingly come in contact with a rabid bat.
“I’m hoping that this is a trend with one a year with no human exposure,” he said. “Perhaps pet vaccination efforts are going the way they should. That’s the big thing – it’s like a shield between the wild animals and the human population.”
Indoor pets should be vaccinated as well because some bats get into homes. Bats are the most common carriers of rabies in the Midwest, Schlueter added. But human rabies cases have been extremely rare in the United States in the past 50 years, Schlueter said. The last human case of rabies reported in Illinois was in 1954.
For information about a referral for capturing bats or submitting specimens for testing, contact Kane County Animal Control at 630-232-3555.