Health officials say a family was recommended to undergo treatment after they were possibly exposed to a rabid bat found in their home in Woodstock.
The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said Monday that the Woodstock household came into contact with the bat that was found in their home on Wednesday.
The household members exposed to the rabid animal were recommended to begin postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment.
MCDH said that rabies in Illinois is primarily contracted from bats. 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 residents who find a bat in their home 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.
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.
“People should take a hands-off approach to all wild animals, especially bats, to reduce their risk of exposure,” Maryellen Howell, Director of MCDH’s Veterinary Public Health Division, said.
“Bats are able to fit in small places, so bat-proofing the home and replacing loose screens or screens with holes is an extra line of defense to prevent exposure in the home,” Howell said.