Rabid Bats Found in City

By Jeff Goldblatt
|  Tuesday, Sep 13, 2011  |  Updated 9:53 PM CDT
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Five rabid bats have been found within city limits over the course of the last month, prompting Chicago Animal Care and Control to notify the mayor's office about the outbreak.

The most recent discovery was on a tree-lined street in the Gold Coast neighborhood, when officers found an "attacking bat" on the ground by a gate in the 1300 block of North Astor Street.

Testing later confirmed the bat was rabid.

"To have five bats test positive is of concern," said Cherie Travis, Animal Care and Control's commissioner.

Traditionally, Chicago sees a spike in bat activity in the late summer because it's the time of year bats migrate. Still, animal and health officials want to prepare and protect given the danger of rabies.

"It's almost uniformly fatal once it develops, so we really need to focus on the prevention side. That people not have contact with animals that are potentially rabid. Get their animals vaccinated," said Dr. Kathy Ritger, the Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Program at the Chicago Department of Health.

That's a warning heeded by Gold Coast resident Airlia Yagnisis, who said she may change the route where she walks her Yorkshire Terriers.

"They're so tiny that even if they are vaccinated, you never know. You never know what might happen, and frankly, I don't want to pay for it. And I don't want to lose them," she said.

Bat migration season continues until the weather gets cold, so there are a few more weeks where bats could be encountered. 

Rabid Bat Discoveries

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

City of Chicago: Bat Safety Fact Sheet (.pdf)
CDC.gov: Information About Rabies
City of Chicago: Animal Care & Control

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