Two Bats Test Positive for Rabies in Livingston County
Livingston County, IL – The Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) is reporting two bats testing positive for rabies in Livingston County as of 2023. No people were exposed; however, pets were exposed to the infected bats.
August and September are typically when the greatest number of bats are submitted to Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for rabies testing. As of August 30, 64 bats have tested positive for rabies in Illinois.
“While most bats are not infected with rabies, individuals should avoid handling bats,” said Donnie Simmons, LCHD’s Director of Environmental Health. “It’s important to regularly inspect your home to ensure there are no openings where bats can enter.”
Rabies can be contracted not only from the bite of an infected animal, but also through direct contact with the saliva of a rabid animal via a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound. While most people are aware when they have been bitten by a bat, bats have very small teeth and bite marks may not be easily seen. If you find yourself in close proximity to a bat and are not sure if you were exposed, (e.g. you wake up and find a bat in your room), do not release the bat. Call your doctor or the LCHD to help determine if you could have been exposed to rabies and if you need preventive treatment.
If a bat enters your home or workplace, it will need to be captured. In such an occurrence, call Livingston County Animal Control at 815-842-8021 to help determine the next steps.
The only way rabies can be confirmed in a bat is through laboratory testing. If you have been bitten or have had direct contact with a bat, please seek immediate medical attention. Treatment with rabies immune globulin and a vaccine series must begin quickly. Without preventive treatment, rabies is typically fatal.
To keep your pets safe, make sure they are vaccinated and don’t allow them to roam freely. If a wild animal comes on your property, bring children and pets inside and allow the animal to wander away. If the animal is acting abnormally, contact Livingston County Animal Control.
More information about rabies and how to keep bats out of your home can be found at www.dph.illinois.gov.