Illinois Public Health warns of rabid animals, bats as summer be -

Illinois Public Health warns of rabid animals, bats as summer begins

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A bat. Credit: KMOV A bat. Credit: KMOV
(Illinois) -

With increased activity expected during this time of year, Illinois' Department of Public Health (IDPH) is advising people to be on the lookout for rabid animals, especially bats. 

"Most cases of rabies in Illinois are almost always found in bats," Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D., said. 

Shah is the IDPH's Director, and said no one can tell if a bat is rapid just by looking at it. Shah advised against handling bats and encourages residents to secure their homes by closing up any openings, should a bat be able to access them. 

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. While often associated with animals, humans can contract the virus through the bite of an infected animal. Saliva dropped into a person's eye, nose, mouth, or wound can also cause an infection in humans. The side-effects for a human with rabies include fever, fatigue, general weakness, and headaches. Advanced infections can see partial paralysis, hallucinations, insomnia, confusion, and anxiety. 

While preventative, rabies treatment must begin quickly, the IDPH said. 

l does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies.  Changes in any animal’s normal behavior can be early signs of rabies.  A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground, or is unable to fly is more likely than others to be rabid.  Such bats are often easily approached, but should never be handled.

The department said if a rabies-infected animal, like a bat, enters your home, do not kill or release it. They said to call animal control or public health officials. 

For more information on rabid animals, head to the IDPH website. 

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