Idaho reports the first person to die of rabies since 1978

An Idaho man died after contracting rabies and is said to be the first human case of rabies in the state since 1978.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Thursday that a man from Boise County has contracted the infection from a bat that flew over his property in August and got caught in his clothes.

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Natterer's bat in flight (Myotis nattereri) at night.

Natterer’s bat in flight (Myotis nattereri) at night.
(Arterra Group / Universal Pictures by Getty Images)

The man was initially unaware that the bat gratis or bit him but became ill in October and was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Officials said in the press release that an investigation into his death revealed the bat’s exposure.

Ambulance on a city street.

Ambulance on a city street.

Idaho State epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn said the case highlights the importance of early treatment if someone is exposed to a bat.

“This tragic case highlights how important it is for Idahoans to be aware of the risk of rabies exposure,” Dr. Hahn said. “Although deaths are rare, it is critical that people exposed to a bat receive appropriate treatment to prevent the onset of rabies as soon as possible.”

In late September, an Illinois man died of rabies in what officials claim is the state’s first human case since 1954.

The man declined treatment after waking up in mid-August to a bat on his neck.

ILINOIZE MAN DIES OF RABBIT IN THE FIRST HUMAN CASE OF A STATE EPODE 1950s

Chief officials have expressed concerns about the difficult IV infusion process of Eli Lilly’s antibody medication.  (iStock)

Chief officials have expressed concerns about the difficult IV infusion process of Eli Lilly’s antibody medication. (iStock)

According to a press release from Idaho’s death, public health officials are giving preventative treatment to people who may have been exposed in the hospital where the man with rabies was being treated.

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The press release notes that 14 bats were positive about rabies this year in Idaho. Eleven percent of the 159 bats that were tested in 2020 were identified with rabies.

According to the CDC, rabies can be spread by bites or scratches from wild animals such as bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes.

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