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Watch Out For Bats, Rabies

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jun 11, 2008 5:17PM

2008_6_11.bat.jpgA Cary woman was maybe bitten by a rabid bat, so McHenry County officials are warning people stay the eff away from the flying mammals. Bat bites can be so tiny they're almost impossible to detect, so people who've been around bats are often given rabies vaccines as a precaution. This is the 15th report of a rabid bat in Illinois so far this year; 113 were reported last year, but there hasn't been a case of rabies in a person in Illinois since 1954. According to the CDC, tens of thousands of people are treated for possible rabies exposure every year, but a few still die.

Bats are the most common rabies carriers, and any abnormal bat behavior—seeing them during the day or in your house, or if it's unable to fly—should be seen as a serious warning that the bat could have rabies. Don't be a hero. Call animal control.

There's an international shortage of rabies vaccine, so the CDC is recommending only post-exposure prophylaxis for people for the time being. But make sure your pets' vaccinations are up to date.[AP, photo by cursedthing]