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Residents urged to steer clear of bats

September 5, 2013 4:44:18 PM PDT
Bats are very common in the Chicago area at this time of year, and they can be dangerous. One man in suburban Elgin learned his lesson from a close encounter with one bat, and in Villa Park, a woman found more than 50 in her home.

While renovating Wanda Allyn's Villa Park townhouse, she and the family got a surprise.

"One huge bat going after my son," said Wanda Allyn, Villa Park homeowner.

Allyn called on the experts at All That's Wildlife.

"Not all of them migrate, some of them will hibernate in your attic, or in your walls or in your garage or anything else," said Rick Wilberscheid, All That's Wildlife Animal Control.

Rick Wilberschied says bats can get into 3/8" openings. He found that and evidence of a bat colony of around 50 to 60 bats in Allyn's attic.

"Please let a professional do this. You don't want to run the risk of getting bit. They are the number one carrier of rabies," said Wilberschied.

Gary McNeil found out the hard way. A few nights ago, McNeil and his wife heard a rustling in their bedroom drapes.

"I'm like, my goodness, it's a bat that came right out of my drapes," said Gary McNeil, homeowner.

It was 3 a.m., and McNeil reacted with a baseball bat. Once subdued, McNeil took a photo. And just before he released the bat outside, he felt something.

"As I let him go, I could feel a little nip right on my thumb," said McNeil.

He and his wife went the painful series of rabies prevention shots.

"The most painful part for me was the hemoglobin shot which was a smaller needle. That's the good news, but right in the tip of the thumb. There were bigger needles all the way around," said McNeil.

So far this year, the Illinois Department of Public Health has found 36 rabid bats and scientists are testing 20 to 30 a day at their West Side facility.

Health officials urge residents steer clear from any bats. Rabies is described as a severe neurological disease that often results in death if not treated. Fortunately we haven't seen a human case of rabies in Illinois since the 1950s, but health official take this seriously and urge residents to do the same.


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