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Bat tests positive for rabies in Boone County

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BOONE COUNTY, Ill. (WTVO) — Boone County health officials have warned that a bat tested positive for rabies and are alerting the public to avoid contact with the creatures.

The Health Department says bats start becoming more active during this time of year, and rabies can be a serious risk to pets and family members.

“With identification of a rabid bat in Boone County, we are urging residents to call Animal Control at 815-547-7774 if a bat is found inside the home.” said Amanda Mehl, Public Health Administrator at the Boone County Health Department.

Officials advise homeowners to seal cracks, chimney holes or other areas that may allow at bat to enter.

Rabies can be contracted from saliva of a rabid animal, and is a fatal disease if left untreated.

“You cannot tell by looking at a bat if it is rabid. The animal does not have to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies,” said Roger Tresemer, Operational Supervisor for Boone County Animal Control. “Any wild mammal, such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, coyote or bat, can have rabies and transmit it to humans.”

Changes in any animal’s normal behavior, such as difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. For example, rabid skunks, which normally are nocturnal and avoid contact with people, may approach humans during daylight hours. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground or is unable to fly is more likely than others to be rabid. Such bats are often easily approached, but should never be handled.

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