A live bat trapped beneath a light pole outside a home in southwest suburban Elwood has become Will County's 12th confirmed case of wildlife rabies for 2012. Confirmed rabid by the Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday, the bat is noteworthy, according to the Will County Health Department.
Before this bat was found, Will County had never reported as many as 12 wildlife rabies confirmations in a single calendar year. The previous high-water mark was in 2007, when 11 of Illinois' 103 confirmed wildlife rabies cases emanated from Will Countya release from the health department said.
The 2012 local wildlife rabies totals include: four cases from Joliet, three from Plainfield, and two from Manhattan. Single confirmations have come from Romeoville and Naperville.
No human exposures were identified in the Elwood incident, according to the release. Two cats live on the property where the bat was captured, but both of the pets are current on their rabies vaccinations.
Rabies is a vaccine-preventable viral disease which is almost universally fatal if post-exposure treatment isn't expedited. Humans are most often exposed due to the bite or scratch of an infected warm-blooded animal.
In Illinois, bats are most often associated with rabies transmission. Cooler temperatures typically diminish the incidence of rabies exposures resulting from contact with bats, but this incident the health department stressed, underscores the need for continued public vigilance.