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This man died from rabies after he refused treatment. Here’s what happened

A man in Illinois died from rabies. How did he get it?

SHARE This man died from rabies after he refused treatment. Here’s what happened
A Mexican long-tongued bat is held.

A Mexican long-tongued bat is held by Mexico’s National Autonomous University/Ecology Institute Biologist Rodrigo Medellin after it was captured in a net at the university’s botanical gardens in Mexico City, Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

Marco Ugarte, Associated Press

A man in Illinois has died from rabies after he was infected by a bat he found in his room, officials said.

The man, who was in his 80s, woke up one morning to find a bat on his neck. The bat was captured and tested positive for rabies. The Lake County resident then denied taking any post-exposure rabies treatment, officials said.

What are rabies symptoms?

After one month, the man started to feel “neck pain, headache, difficulty controlling his arms, finger numbness, and difficulty speaking,” according to the Illinois health department. He died shortly later.

  • “Rabies has the highest mortality rate of any disease,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “However, there is life-saving treatment for individuals who quickly seek care after being exposed to an animal with rabies. If you think you may have been exposed to rabies, immediately seek medical attention and follow the recommendations of health care providers and public health officials.”

Is rabies common?

Per CNN, there are about 1-3 cases of infection from rabies reported every year in the United States. But close to 60,000 Americans take post-exposure vaccination to stop the infection from occurring.

Rabies often spread from bats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other animals that can spread the virus include dogs, coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons, among other animals.