The 84-year-old is the first recorded person to die from the disease after receiving post-exposure treatment
The first case of a man dying from rabies after receiving post-rabies-exposure treatment is the subject of a new study. Image by Jay Ondreicka
An 84-year-old man who received post-exposure rabies treatment has died six months after being bitten by a rabies-infected bat. He is the first person recorded of dying after receiving the treatment.
According to People, the unnamed man is the subject of a new study published by the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, which reports that the man died six months after he was bitten by a bat on July 27, 2020.
The man received post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) rabies treatment after the bat tested positive for rabies on July 30.
Researchers claim the man had not previously been vaccinated for rabies before getting bitten.
It states he "developed right-sided facial paroxysms of severe pain with excessive right eye-lacrimation" in January 2021.
The study reports that the man was evaluated on Jan. 7 and hospitalized on Jan. 14 "with worsening facial pain and paresthesia, generalized weakness, and decreased oral intake secondary to dysphagia."
After his symptoms worsened, the care was withdrawn, and the patient died 15 days later on Jan. 22.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approximately 5,000 animal rabies cases are reported yearly, with more than 90% occurring in wildlife.
"Of the infections acquired in the United States, 70% were attributed to bat exposures," the CDC explains on its website.
The CDC urges individuals to seek immediate care after possible rabies exposure and explains that "this is of particular concern for bat bites since bats can have small teeth and leave bite marks that are the size of the tip of a pencil."
While the rabies virus has to travel to the brain before it can cause symptoms, the CDC adds that individuals can look for signs similar to the flu, including weakness or discomfort, fever, or headache.
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