Avoiding Illness due to ticks, bats and
wild animals Rocky Mountain spotted fever,
Lyme disease, Tularemia, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rabies
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[August 19, 2014]
– As the weather remains warm and people continue to spend more time
outdoors, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr.
LaMar Hasbrouck reminds residents of the importance to take
precautions against illness caused by tick and animal bites.
Ticks can carry diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme
disease, tularemia, babesiosis, and ehrlichiosis, while bats and
other wild animals pose the risk of transmitting rabies, a virus
that affects the nervous system of humans and other mammals. A bite
from ticks, bats or wild animals could cause severe illness in both
children and adults.
One way to avoid a tick bite is to wear a repellent that contains 20
to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin, and if you are in a heavily
wooded area, walk in the center of trails so that weeds do not brush
against you. Also, check yourself, children and other family
members, including pets, every two to three hours for ticks. If you
become ill with fever and/or rash after being in tick habitat
contact your health care provider.
While bats are the primary carrier of rabies in the state, any wild
mammal such as a raccoon, skunk, fox, or coyote, can have rabies.
Humans can get rabies after being bitten by an infected animal.
Rabies can also be contracted when saliva from a rabid animal gets
directly into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth or a wound. So it’s
important to teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, and
encourage them to immediately tell if they are bitten or scratched
by an animal; keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and
ferrets; and supervise your pets so that they do not come in contact
with wild animals. If you find a bat in your home, do not release it
until you have called your local health department.
Call the local health department or animal control agency to remove
stray dogs or cats in your neighborhood.
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“We want residents to enjoy their summer, but we also want
them to take the necessary precautions to avoid illness and
disease,” Dr. Hasbrouck said. “While there are medical
treatments available for persons exposed to infected tick and
animal bites, the best approach is to protect yourself from
being bitten or scratched in the first place.”
More information about preventing tick bites and disease can be
For information on rabies, visit
[Text received; ILLINOIS
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH]
IDPH continues to implement its Five
Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness, influence
and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety and improved
health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include developing and
expanding partnerships; improving data utilization; reducing health
disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and branding,
marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.