Illinois Man’s Rabies Death a Warning About Bats in Homes
No one wants to find a bat in their home. One Illinois man did and he's now dead from rabies. His death now serves as a warning about what (and not) to do if you find a bat in your home.
NPR and CNN both reported on the death of an Illinois man who woke up with a bat on his neck. The man reportedly refused treatment for rabies and later fell ill after he began to suffer from symptoms consistent with rabies. That led to a press release by the Illinois Department of Health about the danger of bats in homes. They dropped the same warning in a post on Facebook.
What do you do if you find a bat in your home? UVA Health recommends that you immediately wash any scratches or bites from the bat. They also advise that you capture the bat if possible without touching it with bare hands. You then need to contact your local health department so the bat can be tested for rabies.
If you have any contact or bites from the bat, you'll need several doses of rabies treatment which they state is administered over a 2 week period. Best to just get to the ER if you suspect you've had serious contact with a bat.
The Mayo Clinic indicates the first treatment is a fast-acting shot administered in the ER. As they mention, a rabies infection is frequently fatal so treatment even prolonged is preferable to the alternative.