The Will County Health Department is reporting two more bats being identified as positive for rabies, bringing the total number for this year to five. One was located in St. Peter’s Church, 12 Sauk Trail, in Frankfort. The pastor was notified of a bat hanging from the ceiling in the sanctuary on Sunday, August 30th. The bat was retrieved by Will County Animal Control and no one was exposed to the bat.
The second additional bat was located in the 0-10 block of Wildwood Drive in New Lenox. The homeowners believe the bat entered the house while they were letting the dogs out in the morning. The homeowners closed the door after the bat flew into the master bathroom and contacted Will County Animal Control. Two dogs were in the home at the time, with the homeowners stating that they were current on rabies vaccinations. An eight month old baby was asleep in her room with the door closed at the time.
For the three previous rabid bats, number three was found August 24th, in St Nativity Church at 760 N Broadway in Joliet. No one was exposed to the bat. Earlier in the summer, one was found in the 1500 block of Marion Drive in Wilmington. A family of five was exposed to the bat, and no pets were in the house. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) was recommended for the family, as the bat was in the house overnight before being captured by Will County Animal Control. The second bat was found in the 300 block of North Broadway in Joliet. No one was exposed, and there were no pets.
The Health Department reminds you that although it has been a slow year for rabid bats far, extreme caution must still be practiced. As recently as 2018, there were 19 confirmed rabid bats in Will County, with that high number credited in part to more awareness and vigilance on the part of Will County residents. WCHD asks that this awareness continue for benefit of all Will County residents.
Bats discovered in Will County need to be immediately reported to Will County animal control at 815-462-5633. The Will County Animal Control Program maintains a 24-hour answering and emergency pick-up service for confirmed stray animals, injured animals, and stray biters.
In addition to being asked to report any discovered bats immediately, Will County residents are also reminded to remove any people and animals from the area where the bat is, and to close off the vicinity where the bat is located if possible. Also, please look check all residents and pets that were around the bat for any small puncture or bite marks. Residents are reminded to not touch a deceased bat, and to please also remember to have your pets currently vaccinated against rabies.
For more information on bats and rabies, please to go this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site: https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/bats.html.