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Health

Urgent rabies warning to pet owners as disease-riddled bats discovered in US

State health leaders have removed rabid bats from two Illinois homes — while warning pet owners to watch out for rabies symptoms.

This comes weeks after bats with rabies were found in Michigan. Bats carry the rabies virus in every U.S. state except Hawaii.

State health officials are urging citizens to make sure their rabies vaccinations are up to date for pets, valuable livestock and horses as they remain alert to strange pet behavior . common carriers of rabies: bats, raccoons, skunks, coyotes and foxes.

The May 10 discovery of the two bats, now confirmed positive for rabies, led IDPH to issue detailed guidelines on how to prevent bats from nesting in homes and other residential properties then as the threat of rabid bat activity increases this summer.

State public health officials successfully removed rabid bats from two Illinois homes in Cook and Will counties — and are now warning of more rabid creatures.  Above is a big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), one of several species native to Illinois and neighboring states.

State public health officials successfully removed rabid bats from two Illinois homes in Cook and Will counties — and are now warning of more rabid creatures. Above is a big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), one of several species native to Illinois and neighboring states.

“Groups of bats can take up residence in people’s homes and this highlights the importance of knowing ways to keep them out,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra.

“Rabies is a deadly but preventable disease,” Dr. Vohra emphasized in his statement.

“It is important that Illinois residents know how to prevent exposure to rabies to protect themselves and their loved ones.”

The IDPH director noted that the first step, if a bat is discovered inside a home, is to try to cover it with a container and contact animal control for testing of rage.

The health department advised wearing protective gloves when approaching the creature and using a box or coffee can to trap the winged mammal in place.

The state of Illinois is home to species of bats, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), which can weigh as little as a few nickels and is more than capable of squeezing through narrow openings or windows. cracks in doors and windows.  Above, a little brown bat in flight

The state of Illinois is home to species of bats, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), which can weigh as little as a few nickels and is more than capable of squeezing through narrow openings or windows. cracks in doors and windows. Above, a little brown bat in flight

Installing coverings over chimney openings and ensuring frames are secure at all entrances, such as doors, windows and vents, will help reduce the risk of rabid bats in the home, noted l IDPH in its “bat exclusion” guide.

Any opening larger than a quarter inch, they advised, should be blocked to prevent bats from sneaking into the house.

Officials recommended a new design for a “one-way valve.”  The valve system allows bats to leave a structure they have already infested, but prevents them from re-entering it.

Officials recommended a new design for a “one-way valve.” The valve system allows bats to leave a structure they have already infested, but prevents them from re-entering it.

The state is home to bat species, such as the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), which can weigh as little as a few nickels and is more than capable of squeezing through narrow openings or cracks in doors and windows.

The IDPH recommended either “caulking, expanding foam, plywood, mortar, metal flashing, steel wool, or quarter-inch screen or netting” to seal these openings, but also presented a new design for a “one-way valve”.

The valve system allows bats to leave a structure they have already infested, but prevents them from re-entering it.

While stereotypes about rabies may lead the public to imagine that all rabid animals act aggressively or foam at the mouth, the IDPH noted that “changes in the normal behavior of any animal may be early signs of rabies.

A bat that is active during the day, such as found on the ground, or that appears unable to fly should be treated as if it had rabies, health officials said.

“If you have been bitten by an animal, seek medical attention immediately,” the IDPH said in its advisory this week.

“Bites can become infected and if the animal is at high risk of rabies, preventive treatment should begin promptly,” they noted.

If possible, officials recommend that residents “do not kill or release the bat before calling your doctor or local health department to help determine if you may have been exposed to rabies and if you need preventative treatment.”

A captured specimen can help local health authorities decide what treatment to follow for exposed people, they said.

News Source : www.dailymail.co.uk
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