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Rabies: Tragically, It Happens… And Is Preventable

The Orlando Sentinel reported that a 6 year-old boy died after physical contact with a bat in his home. Link to the Story HERE

Critical facts from this report,

1.       Most rabies in the U.S. is related to bats. The bat was in this home a couple weeks, at least. Any bat in a home should be removed without skin-to-bat contact (professional exterminators, if needed). Finding one bat mandates checking for points of entry and fixing those, as well as searching for other bats.

2.       Presume a bat in a home is rabid.

3.       Have no contact with saliva, mouth, or claws of a bat. Any such contact requires,

a.       Vigorous washing with soap and water of contact area at least 20 minutes.

b.      Rabies post-exposure immunization as soon as possible, pending studies on the bat for rabies virus.

4.       If the bat is not decomposed, collect the carcass, with impermeable skin protection, such as rubber gloves, and place it in a plastic bag, to be submitted to the local Public Health Department Animal Control for rabies studies.

5.       This death was very likely preventable; the victim apparently deterred the parents from taking him for medical evaluation and treatment because he feared shots. The ultimate tragedy. Modern rabies vaccine is no more uncomfortable than flu shots and is considered nearly 100% effective.