A live bat later found to be rabid was found inside a Mokena home about a week ago, though it was discovered before injuring any people or pets.
Residents at a home on Midland Avenue saw the bat on Aug. 27, covered the winged creature with a towel and called animal control, according to a release from the Will County Health Department. The bat was captured and sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health, where they determined on Aug. 29 that the bat had rabies.
While no one was bitten, the four people who live at the residence all underwent post-rabies exposure treatment, according to the release.
September and October are peak months for bat activity and the Mokena finding is the fourth rabid bat found in Will County.
“Bats found on the ground are a special reason for concern because diseased bats typically have trouble flying,” said Will County Animal Control Administrator Lee Schild in a release. “Remember, any contact with a bat is a potential rabies exposure that should be reported to the most appropriate animal control authority as soon as possible.”
While rabies is preventable through vaccine, it is almost universally fatal in unimmunized people, according to Schild.
“There were no pets involved in this specific incident but it is worth noting that making sure pets are regularly vaccinated is an important factor in minimizing the human rabies threat,” Schild said in the release. “Pet vaccinations are really the first line of defense against the potential for rabies transmission to humans.”
Anyone who believes they encountered a rabid animal should call Will County Animal Control 24 hours a day at 815-462-5633.