A man in northern Illinois lost his life due to rabies after an apparent bat bite. The case was the first for rabies in Illinois since 1954. Here’s the full story.
Bat bite causes rabies in Illinois
In mid-August, a man in his 80s died due to rabies in Illinois. “The diagnosis has been confirmed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” stated the Illinois Department of Public Health. The 80 something-year-old woke up and found a bat on his neck. The bat was later captured and tested positive for rabies. However, the man declined post-exposure rabies treatment according to the health officials. The officials also revealed that a colony of bats, testing positive for rabies was found near his house.
According to reports, the man was experiencing headaches, neck pain, and numbness. Additionally, he had trouble controlling his arms and could not speak properly-all symptoms associated with rabies.
Can rabies lead to death?
Yes, people can lose their lives due to rabies. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system. This affects our brain. Surprisingly, rabies does not lead to death due to inflammation or the killing of neurons. Rabies causes excitotoxicity in the brain. This overstimulates the brain and leads to the death of cells. Hence, patients have trouble controlling movement, speaking and report other symptoms related to the nervous system.
“Sadly, this case underscores the importance of raising public awareness about the risk of rabies exposure in the United States,” said Mark Pfister. Pfister is the executive director of the Lake County Health Department. “Rabies infections in people are rare in the United States, however, once symptoms begin, rabies is almost always fatal, making it vital that an exposed person receive appropriate treatment to prevent the onset of rabies as soon as possible,” he added.
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