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Boy dies from first U.S. rabies case in 2005
The patient had been hospitalized with encephalitis of undetermined origin in September 2005. No history of foreign travel or definitive animal exposure was identified. A greater than fourfold rise in rabies virus antibodies was demonstrated in both paired serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples. No other clinical specimens were available to allow viral characterization and identification of a likely animal source of infection.From "spring" to September is pushing the edge of the rabies virus incubation period (which can vary from a few weeks to 6 months), but I suppose it's possible. I also wonder if the parents knew of the bat exposure, and if they contacted an MD--because this is freaking me out a bit. We had 2 bats in our house a few months ago. The first time, we were all sitting around in the living room when it started flying around in there. I rounded up the kids and took them outside, then just left the door open while my husband kind of shooed it outside. The second time, I was taking my son upstairs to bed, and he saw the bat flying around the upstairs landing. That time, we took the kids downstairs and shut the bat in my upstairs office, then caught it and had it tested (negative, as far as I know), but now I wish I'd caught the first one too. Additionally, we never did figure out how they got in the house (screens on all the windows, never found anything up in the attic and never saw any leaving the house at dusk), so it still worries me that perhaps one of the kids had an exposure while they were sleeping. My pediatrician, though, thought I was worrying over nothing (and admittedly, I probably am), and advised against post-exposure prophylaxis. I realize that the odds are low (and in Iowa, skunks are rabies-positive more frequently than bats), but still...my worry as a parent tends to trump my common sense as a scientist.
Bats are the only known reservoirs of rabies in Mississippi, and the state has reported no human cases since 1956. Although the child stayed at a popular summer camp in Alabama and participated in an overnight caving event in Tennessee during the summer, there were no known exposure incidents at either venue. On additional investigation, it was reported that the child removed a live bat from his bedroom in the spring of this year.