Watch out for bats, and not the kind your kids are swinging in the back yard.
Since the weather has warmed up to the 70s and 80s, bats of the winged kind are becoming active and they’re the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois, according to the state Department of Public Health.
One bat has already tested positive for rabies in Moultrie County and two people are undergoing treatment after coming into contact with that bat, public health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said.
In all, 49 bats and one cow were positive for rabies in the state last year.
Here’s some advise about rabies and bats from public health:
— Rabies is fatal without treatment. If you’ve been bitten by a bat or had direct contact with a bat, don’t fool around. Seek medical care right away.
— Be aware that bats have tiny teeth. When in doubt about a bite, check it out.
— Be aware that rabies can also be transmitted through saliva into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound.
— Any wild animals may be carrying rabies. Signs can include difficulty walking or changes in typical behavior, such as a nocturnal animal out during the daytime. A bat active during the daytime or unable to fly is more likely to have rabies.
— If you find a bat in your home, don’t release it outdoors until speaking with public health or animal control officials. But if you can (without endangering yourself!) cover it with a large can or bucket and leave it in a room with the door shut.