Updated: September 23, 2012 6:18AM
A bat that tested positive for rabies was discovered in a home in St. Charles earlier this week, but there was no human exposure, according to the Kane County Health Department.
This is the first bat identified with rabies in Kane County in 2012, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the department.
The health department recommends residents take steps to prevent bats from entering their home. The department also says people should avoid contact with wild animals that are behaving unusually, such as a bat that is outside in the day time or one that cannot fly; and to ensure all pets are up to date with their rabies vaccinations.
While most bats do not carry rabies, bats are the most common carrier of rabies in Illinois. One bat testing positive for rabies was found in Kane County in 2011, five in 2010, six in 2009, nine in 2008, five in 2007, and one in 2006. Rabies affects the brain and will cause unnatural behavior in mammals.
The last human case of rabies in Illinois was reported in 1954.
It is important to keep all pets — dogs, cats, ferrets, etc. — current with their rabies vaccinations, the health department said.
Not only does the vaccine protect the pet, it also serves as a barrier of protection for people. Even indoor pets should be vaccinated, as illustrated by the fact that some of the bat cases are found indoors, according to health officials.
Information about exclusion — keeping bats from entering your home — can be found by visiting the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/pcbats.htm.
For information about a referral for capturing bats or for submitting specimens for testing, call Kane County Animal Control at 630-232-3555.