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LACON — Marshall County Health Department is advising the public about the potential risk of exposure to rabies after a rabid bat was identified in Marshall County.
Rabies is a dangerous but preventable viral disease that affects the central nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal like raccoons, skunks, or bats, but domestic animals such as dogs and cats also account for some of the reported rabies cases in the United States.
“With identification of a bat with rabies in Marshall County, I caution any person having exposure to bats to report that exposure immediately to your Animal Protection Services and Health Department to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Nicole Ingold, Manager at Marshall County Health Department,
The following guidelines can help protect people and pets from rabies: * If you see a bat in your home, leave the room and close the door if possible. Place a towel under the door to block escape and call your local Animal Control Center. Do not attempt to handle or kill the bat. Marshall County Animal Protection Services at (815) 246-2755 will respond to capture and impound bats that residents have encountered inside a home in Marshall County.
* Report all animal bites to the local Animal Control Center and local Health Department. If someone has been bitten or scratched by a wild or domestic animal, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
* Notify the Animal Control Center or local Health Department if you suspect you, another household member, or a pet has been exposed, even if the bat was seen in a room with a sleeping child or adult.
* If you find a dead bat in your home, call Animal Control Center for instructions. * Tightly close all outside doors to prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas where they might have contact with people and pets.
* Carefully examine your home for holes that might allow bats entry. Any opening larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch should be caulked. Board up any openings to your attic, basement, porch or garage. Cap chimneys with screens.
* Be sure dogs and cats are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations by consulting with your veterinarian. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans.
* Do not handle wild or domestic animals that have been trapped. Contact your local Animal Control Center for assistance.
* Encourage children to immediately tell an adult if they are bitten or scratched by an animal. Teach children not to approach or to touch any animal they do not know.