A child, who remains unnamed, has been admitted to a Texas hospital after developing a rare human case of rabies from a bat's bite. Officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services said that this is the first rabies case in over a decade.
In a news release, the local health department could only disclose that the child comes from Medina County and has been receiving treatments at a county hospital 37 miles away from San Antonio. Health officials, however, did not detail how the child encountered the bat or if treatments were administered before the symptoms appeared.
However, contact tracing has been underway to advise the people likely exposed to the child to get post-exposure vaccinations. The health officials said that Medina County residents who were not called or informed about the vaccinations do not have any reasons to be concerned about the rabies infection.
First Case Since 2009
Texas last dealt with a human case of rabies in 2009. Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one to three rabies cases have been reported across the country every year.
The rabies virus comes from infected animals, but it may also be transmitted from human to human due to infected saliva that enters the mouth, nose, eyes, or a wound on the skin. Rabies impacts the central nervous system and can be fatal if the person has not received proper medical care.
According to the state health agency, rabies vaccine and immune globulin should be given to the patient before the manifestations of symptoms like fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, excessive saliva, hallucinations, agitations, and partial paralysis. A person who has been bitten by an animal, especially if the animal was exposed to rabies, should wash the bite, scratch, or wound with soap and water and then proceed to the doctor to get a medical assessment.
Although other mammals may also spread the rabies virus, skunks and bats are the most common rabies carriers in the Lone Star State. In 2000, some 600 animals were found to be positive with rabies in Texas, and more than half of these were bats.
First Death from Rabies Since 1978
Meanwhile, a farmer from Idaho became the first man to die from a human case of rabies in 40 years. Per the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the unnamed victim was believed to have encountered the bat on his property in August. However, he did not complain about bat bites or scratches though he recalled the bat went up close to him.
In October, the Idaho man was admitted to the hospital and subsequently died of his illness. The state department has informed residents in Bonneville and Payette of the presence of bats. They were advised to get their anti-rabies shots. Pets and livestock animals could also be protected from getting or passing the infection if they are vaccinated.
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