MORGAN PARK — A rabid bat was recently found in the 11700 block of South Bell Avenue in Morgan Park, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea said.
O'Shea sent an email to constituents about the bat Thursday afternoon. He also encouraged pet owners to be sure their animal's vaccination records are up to date.
"All residents are urged to keep their domestic animals on a leash when outside of their homes," O'Shea said in the email.
He advised against handling any bat or wild animal and said if any bats are found to call 311 immediately.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one or two cases of rabies in humans are reported each year. The most common source is bats, which were responsible for 17 of the 19 cases of human rabies between 1997 and 2006.
Though rabies can only be confirmed in a laboratory, there are signals that a bat is carrying the disease, according to the CDC.
What to look for: bats that are active during the day, unable to fly, easily approached or found in a place where they are not usually seen, such as your lawn.
Rabies can't be contracted through casual contact with a bat (such as petting fur), or its feces, urine or blood.
Infection passes via bite (which can be difficult to detect due to bats' small teeth) or by entering the bloodstream through the eyes, nose, mouth or open wound.
If you think you or your pet may have been bitten by a bat, try to capture the bat for testing. (Instructions here)
Fall and winter are the best times of year to "batproof" your home. Any bats that might have taken up residence during the summer will have left to hibernate, according to the CDC.