Rabid Bat Alert: First Rabid Bats of 2024 Found in Illinois

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Chicago, IL – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first two rabid bats of 2024, discovered inside homes in Cook and Will counties since May 10. This finding has prompted a renewed warning about rabies risks and the need to avoid wild animals.

According to IDPH, rabies is a fatal but preventable disease, with bats being the most common carriers in Illinois. “Bats are the most common carriers of the rabies virus in Illinois, but not the only carrier,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “Residents should stay away from bats and any wild, unfamiliar, or stray animal, as well as any animal that appears to be sick.”

To prevent the spread of rabies, follow these tips:

  • Do not touch, feed, or attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Contact animal control or rescue agencies for assistance with sick wild animals.
  • Teach children to avoid handling unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. The principle “Love your own, leave other animals alone” helps reduce exposure risks.
  • Ensure homes and other buildings are secure to prevent bats from entering.
  • If a bat is in your home, contain it with a container and contact animal control for rabies testing.

IDPH also advises pet owners to keep rabies vaccinations up to date and to seek veterinary advice if a pet is exposed to high-risk wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, or coyotes.

For more information and safety tips, visit dph.illinois.gov.

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