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Rabid bat found on north side

The Illinois Department of Public Heath’s state laboratory says a a rabid bat has been found on Evanston’s north side.


The Illinois Department of Public Heath’s state laboratory says a a rabid bat has been found on Evanston’s north side.

City officials say bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Illinois, but they note that it’s been more than 50 years since a human being in the state came down with the disease.

“The most significant measure people can take is to avoid all contact with bats and to ensure that their pets’ vaccinations are up to date,” says Evonda Thomas, Evanston’s director of health and human services.

“Not only does the vaccine protect the pet, it also serves as barrier of protection for people,” she added.

Because in many instances when rabid bats are identified they are found indoors, “it is important to vaccinate pets even if they never venture out of doors,” Thomas said.

Thomas added the following suggestions:

  • Rabid bats may exhibit no obvious abnormalities, so all contact with bats should be avoided;
  • Where there is a likelihood of encountering bats, such as at children’s outdoor camps, people should be instructed not to touch bats;
  • People should NOT be allowed to occupy a room in which bats are found until it is certain that no bats remain in the room and that it has been sealed to prevent their re-entry.

If a bat is found indoors, the structure should be thoroughly inspected for the presence of other roosting bats.

Exclusion remains the best way to prevent and control bats in a structure. Bats can be excluded by sealing exterior openings larger than a half inch, using caulk, expandable foam, plywood, mortar, metal flashing, steel wool or quarter-inch mesh screen or netting.

Make sure doors, windows and vents have screens and are securely framed; chimneys are capped; and gaps around utility lines are plugged.

Information about bat control measures is available on the state public health department website.

More information is also available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website or by calling the Evanston Health and Human Services Department at 847-866-2962 or after hours at 847/866-5000.

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