Health officials say a family is undergoing treatment after they and their dog came into contact with a rabid bat found in their home in Woodstock.
The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said Friday that the Woodstock household came into contact with the bat that was found in their home on Tuesday.
The household members exposed to the rabid animal were referred to a local emergency department to begin postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment.
A family dog in the home was also exposed to the bat and is being observed for symptoms.
MCDH said that people usually get rabies from the bite of a rabid animal. It is typically not contagious from person to person.
The rabies virus is transmitted through direct contact with saliva or brain and nervous system tissue from an infected animal.
Rabies can be fatal in humans if left untreated.
The MCDH recommends that if residents find a bat in their home, they should contain it in a room by closing the door or placing a blanket on it.
The MCDH Animal Control should be notified by calling 815-459-6222 and a physician should also be consulted.
Health officials said that it is important the animal is alive or recently deceased with the head intact for reliable rabies testing.
Those who are exposed to a rabid animal will need to be administered PEP, a four-series treatment that includes immunoglobulins and vaccine, as soon as possible after the exposure, the MCDH said.
Many types of bats have small teeth which may leave marks that disappear quickly.
Health officials also remind residents that pets should be vaccinated against rabies.
To minimize bats getting into homes, the health department said that doors, windows and vents should have screens and be securely framed. Chimneys should be capped and gaps around utility lines should be plugged.
Residents should not touch, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter, the health department said.
Last June, a rabid bat was found in a child’s bedroom in Johnsburg.