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Rabid Bats Are More Active Across Northern Illinois

Mark Bowler, University of California, Irvine

Rabid bats are more active this time of year and have now found their way across the entire northern Illinois area.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says more than a dozen cases of rabid bats were reported in this year alone. With hibernation season over, state veterinarian Connie Austin says the creatures are being found more often in people's homes. 

“Some bats do like to live in people’s homes, so you can have a whole colony of bats living in some people’s attic," she said. "It seems like older homes, where it may be holes in the top of the home where the bats can get in, and they roost in the attic area or the upper areas of the house.” 

She wants residents who discover these colonies not to simply let the bats go. 

"Instead, what we really want them to do is not get bitten by the bat," she said, "but we want them to call their local health department.” 

Rabies, a disease that affects the nervous system, is spread by saliva from bites. Austin says those bitten by any animal, especially one they think may be rabid, should seek medical attention immediately.