What’s The Deal With All The Bats Around Rockford?
There is a lot you may not know about bats. Myself included, until there was a bat flying around my girlfriend's house and she was scared to death.
I was thinking to myself no big deal; I have killed 3 bats in the past when I found them in houses, I even had one stuck in my hair during my teen years. My girlfriend is also a nurse. And she was immediately freaking out and telling me all these facts that I didn't know. I knew rabies was bad, I mean I saw the movie Cujo but I had no idea just how bad. I figured I'm not the only one, so I wanted to share some of the things I learned about bats with you.
You're probably seeing many more bats than normal right now and there's a reason why. September is bat mating season plus they will be fattening up for the Winter so they'll be eating up a storm. Please share what you're about to read with everyone you know. It could save you thousands of dollars and even your life.
- If you find a bat in your house you should not handle it. If you have to, use thick leather gloves.
- Do not let the bat go.
- Call Winnebago County Animal Services to come collect the bat so it can be tested for rabies.
- The rabies test will take approximately 3 days to come back.
- If the bat is rabid, it is recommended that anyone who might have had contact with the bat (i.e. bite, scratch, saliva in mucous membranes) get post-exposure prophylaxis.
- You have approximately 10 days to start the vaccine series.
- Post-exposure prophylaxis typically consists of 5 shots over a 2 week period. They are extremely pricey. Like thousands of dollars.
- If the bat was unable to be collected and tested, it is highly recommended that anyone who had possible contact with the bat is vaccinated. This would include anyone who had definite contact with the bat, mentally disabled people, intoxicated people, people who were sleeping where the bat was found, or unattended children that were in the same room as the bat.
- Bat bites are extremely small, sometimes not felt or seen. So don't automatically think you're in the clear.
- Post exposure prophylaxis can be received in the ER. Doctors offices and the health department do not carry the vaccine.
- Always call your doctor or seek medical attention if you think you have been in contact with a a bat.
- Only 6% of bats are rabid in the United States, but there have been rabid bats documented in every state in the continental U.S..
- Over 30,000 people receive the rabies vaccines every year.
- There are usually 1-3 cases of human rabies in the United States every year, usually from bats.
- Rabies is 100% fatal. You can not wait until you are symptomatic to get the shots because once you have symptoms, it's too late.
- Bats have been more of a problem lately in the Stateline area. Hospital ERs are administering the vaccines frequently and are even having trouble keeping them stocked.
So the moral here is... DON'T MESS AROUND WITH BATS. Protect yourself and your kids. Don't go being a hero and getting rid of the bat yourself. Make sure your house is completely sealed off to keep these scary critters out (chimneys, fireplaces, windows, attics, vents). Thank goodness my girlfriend was smart and closed the bedroom door where the bat was to contain it so it was able to be properly collected and tested.
Three days after the writing of this post, the rabies test came back negative. Prayers answered.