The Rockford Area is Seeing an Increase in Bat Bites
Maybe it's just that the bats that patrol my neighborhood each night are full from all the mosquitos and other bugs they're scooping up, or they're planning an early Fall sneak attack on me, but despite a fairly large amount of them being around, no one near me has been bitten yet. Other people around the Rockford area haven't been so lucky.
According to a piece up at 13WREX.com, incidents of humans being bitten by bats in and around Rockford have nearly tripled over last year's numbers:
The county reported 10 total bat bites all of 2016 but already has 29 bites this year alone. 17 of those bites in 2017 were in August and there have already been 5 in September to this point. Only 2 people were bit by bats in August in 2016.
So, are we doing anything differently this year than last? It doesn't seem so:
Swedish American hospital says that the bites were from varying circumstances. A few of the patients who were bit were handling the bats. The rest of the bites came from those who were unaware they were exposed to bats. A few patients were bit by bats in their beds. The remainder of the patients were asleep and the bats were in the rooms they were asleep in.
If you do have physical contact with a bat, here's what the Illinois Department of Public Health says:
Any bat suspected of having physical contact with a person should be captured and submitted for rabies testing. Bats can be captured using gloves, by netting, or by covering them with a box or can, then sliding a piece of cardboard or other stiff material under the container to trap the bat inside. It is advisable to wear heavy leather gloves to avoid bites and scratches. Your local health department, animal control office or veterinarian can assist you with submitting the bat to a laboratory for rabies testing. If the bat tests negative, rabies treatment can be avoided.
If a bat bites or has physical contact with a person, the wound or contact area should be washed immediately with soap and water. Unfortunately, b at bites and scratches are small and may go unnoticed. In certain situations it may be impossible to know if contact with a bat has occurred. These situations occur when a bat is found in the same room with a sleeping person, infant or young child, persons with diminished sensory or mental capacity, or persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Whenever a bat has physical contact with a person, or is suspected of coming in contact with a person, the bat should be captured, if possible, and the incident should be captured, if possible, and the incident should be reported immediately to a physician and local health authority to assess the need for rabies treatment.
I really didn't think bats could be called "cute," but...