EUREKA — The Woodford County Health Department announced Wednesday that a dead bat collected from a private residence in Eureka tested positive for rabies.
There was no human exposure to the bat, but this is the second bat to test positive for rabies in Woodford County in 2021. Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals.
The deceased bat was found by the homeowner's pet. The pet will be in quarantine and undergo additional booster shots due to the exposure.
Bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Illinois. Rabies can spread through saliva of a rabid bat and get into the eyes, nose, mouth or open wound of another animal or person. There is no way to tell that a bat is rabid just by looking at it; it must go through laboratory testing. A bat only needs to be tested if it has been exposed to a human or pet.
Changes in any animal's behavior, including difficulty walking or an overall appearance of illness, can be early signs of rabies. A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground and unable to fly is likely to be sick. These bats should never be handled.
Bats are more active this time of year and the possibility of exposure to rabies increases. The WCHD encourages residents to avoid bat exposure, and vaccinating pets is important to prevent rabies transmission.
What OSF Cancer Center adds to health care options in the area, officials said during a media tour Wednesday, is another chance to get treatment — quickly after a diagnosis — from a team based in the same space, working together for the same goals.