Rabid Bat Rabies Warning

Case

Last September a California man died from rabies about 6 weeks after being bitten by a bat. The bat bit him on the right index finger while he was in bed. After being bitten, the man washed the wound but did not seek medical attention. Five weeks later, he began to develop symptoms of rabies. In spite of medical treatment, the man died a week later.

Prevention

How could this man's death have been prevented?

Anyone bitten by a potentially rabid animal should immediately disinfect the wound (the man did wash the bite), capture the animal safely (the man did catch the bat but let it fly away), contact both the local health department and be seen right away by a physician to determine whether rabies PEP treatment is needed. (PEP is postexposure prophylaxis.) In this case, when the man finally did seek medical attention, it was too late.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com

Related Links


Human Death Associated with Bat Rabies --- California, 2003


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