Thursday, June 2, 2016

More on Bats

The CDC reports a troubling case of a death from rabies. They state:

Rabies is a nearly universally fatal zoonotic disease, but is preventable if exposed persons receive postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). During recent decades, most domestically acquired human rabies cases in the United States have been associated with bat exposures; however, in the majority of these cases, no bite was reported. In 2015, a Wyoming woman aged 77 years died from infection with a rabies virus variant enzootic to the silver-haired bat. The patient had contact with a bat while sleeping, but she and her husband, her primary caregiver, were unaware of the risk for rabies in the absence of a visible bite wound; they did not seek medical evaluation or receive PEP after the incident. The patient’s family had reportedly contacted several local agencies about bats near their home over multiple years, but had not been informed about the risk for rabies.

 Rabies and bats are always paired. Bats are invasive and seek home for their settings. Bats also are as noted the most significant carrier and transmitter of rabies. How any physician missed this is unthinkable. Prophylactic treatment is essential even is a minimal exposure is considered.

The problem is that the vaccine is expensive and often not covered by insurance and further most Health Authorities are not attuned to the risk.

Hopefully the CDC can address this issue. Death from rabies is preventable if only one were to act.