Pet vaccination is key to rabies prevention

By on July 27, 2009

COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department is reporting that two bats have tested positive for rabies so far this year. One was found in Elgin, Ill.; the other one in Dundee, Ill. Although both were discovered in residences, there were no human or pet exposures.

“As we head into the warm summer months, this is a good time to remind everybody about the importance of the preventative measures they can take to protect themselves and their pets,” said Paul Kuehnert, Executive Director of the Health Department. “Obviously, the most important measure people can take is to ensure that their pet’s vaccinations are up to date.”

Not only does the vaccine protect the pet, it also serves as a barrier of protection for people, Kuehnert said. Because many of the positive bats are discovered indoors, it is important to vaccinate pets even if they never venture out of doors.

Last year, Kane reported nine positive bats. Illinois recorded 113 confirmed cases of rabies in animals last year, all found in bats. Bats are the primary carriers of rabies in Illinois. A case of human rabies has not been reported in Illinois since 1954.

More information about rabies is available by calling the Health Department at (630) 208-3801 and asking for the Communicable Disease program. Exclusion remains the best way to prevent and control bats in a structure. Information about exclusion can be found by logging on to the Illinois Department of Public Health website at

Rabies prevention guidelines
• Rabid bats may exhibit no obvious abnormalities, so all contact with bats should be avoided.
• Where there is a likelihood of encountering bats, such as at children’s outdoor camps, people should be instructed not to touch bats.
• People should not be allowed to occupy a room in which bats are found until it is certain that no bats remain in the room and that the room has been sealed to prevent their re-entry.
• If a bat is found indoors, the structure should be thoroughly inspected for the presence of roosting bats.
• Exclusion remains the best way to prevent and control bats in a structure.
• Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat, seek veterinary assistance for your pet immediately.
• Call local law enforcement or animal control agency for direction as to whom to contact for the remove of contained stray animals in your neighborhood.

For information about a referral for capturing bats or for instructions on submission of
appropriate specimens for testing, call Kane County Animal Control (630) 232-3555