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Minnesota man dies after biting his hand after waking up from RABIES -Health

  • The 84-year-old grabbed the bat and quickly washed his hands with soap and water
  • Tests revealed the bat had rabies, prompting him to begin treatment
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US health officials have revealed that one person in Minnesota died of rabies last year.

The 84-year-old, who has not been named, batted away the animal and quickly washed his hands with soap before returning to bed with his wife.

The couple was given post-exposure prophylaxis rabies treatment that included a series of rabies vaccinations and antibody injections.

But five months later, the man returned to the hospital complaining of severe pain on the right side of his face and excessive tearing in his eye.

He died 15 days later of swelling of the brain and spinal cord, according to a new report published in the journal. Clinical Infectious Diseases.

84-year-old silver-haired bat bitten by rabies (stock photo of silver-haired bat)

Doctors said it was the first documented US case of a rabies patient dying after receiving prophylaxis treatment in a ‘timely and appropriate’ manner.

Rabies is a virtually always fatal infection unless patients are treated before symptoms develop.

It is caused by a virus that targets the central nervous system, causing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

Humans can be infected by feral animals — usually through the saliva of infected animals — including bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes.

Symptoms usually begin three to eight weeks after infection and begin as fever, headache, muscle weakness and general malaise. But then it will progress to confusion, agitation, hallucinations, paralysis and coma.

Five Americans died of rabies last year, data show

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said four deaths were caused by bats and the fifth by a rabid dog.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that rabies typically kills two to three people in the United States each year.

But in 2021, the latest date available, five fatalities were recorded, including an 84-year-old man and a seven-year-old boy. Four patients were bitten by bats and one by dogs in the Philippines.

Dr. Stacey Holzbauer, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said the report ‘summarized the first reported failure of rabies (treatment) in the Western Hemisphere.

They suggested that the treatments failed because the patients had an unspecific immune system, which made the vaccines less effective.

The bite occurred on July 27, 2020, but the man did not become ill until January of the following year.

He had several underlying conditions, including coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems and an enlarged prostate.

After his first trip to the hospital, he received a rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medication and three doses of the rabies vaccine.

The man went to the hospital three times complaining of sudden pain on the right side of his face and a tear in his right eye before being admitted.

But by this time, the facial pain worsened and he started suffering from night sweats, redness of the right eye, facial paralysis and pain in the left ear.

Further swabs revealed that the man had encephalitis, or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. He also developed a fever of 103.1F (39.5C).

Doctors intubated the man to support his breathing but eventually decided to withdraw treatment. He died 15 days after the onset of symptoms.

Tests revealed that he had contracted rabies which was similar to a bat bite on his arm.

Rabies: Death from scratch

Rabies is a viral infection that targets the nervous system and brain.

It is fatal in 100 percent of cases that go untreated—and has an incubation period of 20 to 60 days.

It is only spread to humans by infected animals, often through animal bites or scratches.

It can also be spread by contact with an animal’s saliva or a cut on a person’s skin. Most cases of rabies result from being bitten by an infected dog.

Symptoms of the illness include high temperature, numbness at the bite site and hallucinations. Some sufferers also have hydrophobia, which is the fear of water.

About 55,000 cases of rabies occur worldwide each year with over 95% occurring in Africa and Asia. Half of all rabies cases occur in India.

Rabies is one of the neglected tropical diseases (NTD) that mainly affects poor and vulnerable populations living in remote rural locations.

An estimated 80% of human cases occur in rural areas, and although effective human vaccines and immunoglobulins for rabies exist, they are not readily available or accessible to those who need them.

Globally, rabies deaths are rarely reported and children aged 5–14 years are frequent victims.

Each year, more than 29 million people worldwide receive the vaccine after being bitten. This is estimated to prevent several thousand rabies deaths annually.

Source: WHO



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