Rabies is a serious deadly virus that infects the central nervous system and can affect all mammals. The virus is spread from the saliva of an infected animal through a bite, break in the skin or mucous membrane (eyes, nose or mouth). It is possible to prevent the rabies virus if the person exposed is given immunization soon after the bite occurred.
If you have been bitten by an animal, it is recommended to clean the wound well and seek medical attention. Animal Services should also be contacted immediately so the animal can be captured, (815) 319-4100. Once the symptoms of rabies virus are present, between 10 days and 7 years, survival is rare as there is no known cure.
Due to the seriousness of this virus, it is imperative to report animal bites to Animal Services.
Among wild animals, bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes are common carriers of the rabies virus. There is no known quarantine period for wild animals. The only way to test for the rabies virus in a wild animal is through laboratory testing of a brain sample. The most recent cases of human rabies in the United States have been caused by the rabies virus in bats. Bats can be found anywhere in Illinois. If you have been bitten or unsure if you have been bitten and are in close proximity of a bat (for example, inside of a home) you should contact your local health department or doctor. Another example would be a child unattended in a room and there is a bat found in the room. Do not discard the bat or damage the bat's head. Please call Animal Services and we will remove the bat and send it to the Illinois Department of Public Health for rabies testing.
To help prevent the spread of rabies, it is required to vaccinate all dogs and cats within Winnebago County for rabies.