Rabies in bats have not been a cause of concern in the U.S. but the Illinois man’s death due to a rabid bat bite has spiked fear. Is this the beginning of another infectious spread? Find out ways to safeguard your community now.
What Is Rabies?
Rabies is a type of virus that infects the nervous system of the host. It originated during the 18th Century B.C. in wild animals like raccoons, bats, wolves, foxes, etc. Rabies can be transmitted only by coming into contact with an infected animal’s saliva directly or through open wounds.
Can People Die from Rabies?
Unfortunately, once the symptoms begin to exhibit, a rabid animal will die within five days. On the other hand, a rabid human can survive if post-exposure treatments are taken during the incubation period. If not he/she will die within seven days.
Rabies in Bats
The last death caused by bats and rabies occurred around 2018 in the U.S. after a man was extensively exposed to them during work. The first incident after 2 years happened a few weeks ago in Illinois.
An 80-year-old man woke up to a bat biting his neck and denied post-exposure treatment. He later died after his nervous system shut down due to the infection. Authorities disposed of a bat nest full of rabid bats to prevent dying from rabies.
What Happens If a Bat Bites You?
Rabies in dogs and cats is common in Asia and Africa. While raccoons, skunks, and bats transmit it to humans in the U.S. It is necessary to get immediate care if you believe you have come in contact with bat saliva. Biting and scratching are common ways of transmission.
Symptoms of Rabies
Unlike what they show on screen, rabid animals will never froth. A rabid animal may be hostile and aggressive. Here are the rabies symptoms in humans:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and confusion
- Headache and anxiety
- Hyperactivity and agitation
- Loss of voice
- Loss of motor control
Human rabies is fatal 99% once clinical symptoms begin to exhibit themselves.
Treatment of Rabies
Health care workers suggest it is necessary to get hospitalized if you suspect being bitten by a rabid animal. The primary treatment involves cleaning the wound and administering several doses of fast-acting vaccines to fight against rabies. They also suggest you make note of the animal if possible to help in finalizing the appropriate dosage.
How to Prevent Rabies?
How to prevent your pets from rabies?
- Get them vaccinated
- Don’t allow them to sniff or lick anything unknown outdoors.
- Keep wounded pets indoors or cover any open wounds.
- Never allow them to befriend stray mammals. (Birds, snakes, and lizards are not mammals. Therefore, they cannot acquire or transmit rabies.)
- Get them checked for any infections regularly.
How to prevent yourself from rabies?
- Get vaccinated against rabies.
- Remove any bat caves in your neighborhood.
- Never feed or pet stray animals directly.
- Don’t encourage raccoons and skunks to roam in your community.
- Keep your dumpsters free of edible remains and make your neighborhood unattractive to these stray mammals.
Rabies in bats and human rabies can become endemic in the U.S. if they are left unattended.