EDWARDSVILLE — A bat tested positive in Madison County for rabies.

Madison County Rabies Control Administrator, Adam Ohms, D.V.M., reported that a bat collected in Godfrey tested positive for rabies. He said the bat was brought in on Aug. 21 after appearing sick/injured and then sent to the lab for testing.

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Ohms said it appears there was no known human exposure.

“This is the first bat to test positive in 2019 for rabies,” Ohms said.

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Rabies is a viral disease present in mammals that is most frequently transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, health officials said. The virus acts by infecting the central nervous system and causing disease in the brain and, ultimately, death.

Symptoms of rabies in humans include fever, headache and general weakness or discomfort early on and can progress to anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, hyper salivation and hydrophobia. Once the infection has progressed to this point, death frequently occurs within days.

Ohms wants to remind all persons to avoid direct contact with wild animals, especially if they appear sick or injured. The best course of action is to call the local animal control department.

“I also urge all pet owners to keep their pets current on rabies vaccinations,” he said. “Pets have a much greater risk of exposure to potentially rabid animals.”

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