Five rabid bats have been found within Chicago city limits over the last month. The city is calling it an outbreak – that terminology may be extreme. Still, the five positive rabid bats were found at various locations, not in one neighborhood, which suggests there may likely have been more never discovered. And, after all, rabies is fatal.
The most recent rabid bat was found in the Gold Coast neighborhood, when animal control officers were led to an “attacking bat” on the ground by a residential gate on North Astor Street. Testing later confirmed the bat was rabid.
If there’s a ‘bat season’ in Chicago, this is it because several species take wing for warmer climates – and Chicago is on their migration path.
It’s important to understand the favor insect eating bats do for us….without these migrating bast, we would be spending far more time swatting mosquitoes.
Since bats can fly into open windows – even indoor cats should be vaccinated for rabies. All dogs should also be vaccinated for rabies – it’s the law. Most of all, you may be saving your pet’s life. If a bat bites a pet, the pet will be quarantined until it’s learned whether or not the bat is rabid. If the bat turns out to be rabid, your pet will be euthanized. There is no cure or treatment for rabies in pets or people.
Again, if you witness bats flying above your heads – they pose absolutely no danger. In fact, be grateful for the reasons described above. It’s a bat that you may see indoors, on the sidewalk, or flying in plain sight during the day that you should be concerned about…In fact, any wild animal acting oddly friendly, particularly a skunk or raccoon, may be a concern. Do NOT approach the animal. Keep pets away. And immediately contact your local animal care and control.
Rabid Bat Discoveries in Chicago:
Aug. 19: 10544 S. Wood
Aug. 21: 12315 S. Emerald
Aug. 21: 4850 N. Rockwell
Aug. 26: 2206 W. School
Sept. 4: 1359 N. Astor
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair offers an excellent fact sheet on rabies and bats, which mostly applies to any city anywhere. The Centers for Disease Control offers more information on rabies.