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Health officials warn of increase in rabid bats
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Published: 9/2/2007 9:29 AM

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A bat found recently in Harvard brings the total number of rabid bats for McHenry County to 10, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.

This exceeds the number of rabid bats recorded by the county in 2004, the highest count in recent years. Statewide, the count is up as well, with 68 rabid bats reported as of Aug. 22. In 2004, 50 rabid bats were recorded in the state.

Other communities reporting rabid bats this summer include Woodstock, Crystal Lake, McHenry and Marengo. Eighteen individuals have received rabies treatment as compared to 20 residents in 2004. Although bats are typically more active in August and September, there has been an increase in reported bats, possibly due to greater awareness by the community.

A rabies fact sheet is available on the McHenry County Department of Health Web site at, along with tips to bat proof your home.

Keeping pets up-to-date on their vaccinations will protect them from rabies and provide a barrier between animals and humans.

The McHenry County Department of Health continues to urge residents to take a hands-off approach to wild animals to reduce their risk of rabies exposure. Bats that are active by day, found in your home, in a swimming pool or on the lawn or are unable to fly are more likely to be rabid.

Rabies affects the central nervous system and has a high fatality rate. It is preventable, however, with timely prophylaxis.

The best way to avoid rabies is to avoid exposure. The McHenry County Department of Health strongly recommends that a bat found in the home should be reported immediately to McHenry County Animal Control at (815) 334-4470 for testing.

Questions about rabies exposure should be directed to the Department of Health's Communicable Disease Program at (815) 334-4500.