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updated: 9/4/2013 7:13 AM

Health officials: Avoid rabies by avoiding bats

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Associated Press

OAK FOREST -- Bats are active this time of year, increasing the possibility of human exposure to the rabies virus.

People can get rabies from the bite of an infected animal. It can be fatal if left untreated. That's why Cook County health officials are reminding residents to avoid bats.

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Call your local animal control office to report a bat in your home or a dead bat on your property. In Cook County, five bats have tested positive for rabies this year.

Other recommendations are that if a bat is in your home, don't release it outdoors until after speaking with animal control or public health officials. It may be possible to test the bat, avoiding the need for rabies treatment.

Last year, 63 bats tested positive for rabies in counties throughout Illinois.

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