WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — Health officials are warning residents never to touch or try to catch a bat or other wild animal, especially in the home.
Bats are beneficial creatures, eating thousands of insects each night. But the DuPage County Health Department points out they are also the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois.
Officials say animals do not need to be aggressive or exhibit other symptoms to have rabies. Any wild mammals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes and bats can transmit rabies to humans.
A bat that is active during the day, found on the ground and unable to fly, is more likely to be rabid and should not be handled.
Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. If untreated it is fatal.