A Texas County man has died from rabies after a bat bit him. He was the first human rabies death in the state since 1959.
Officials said Mike Reed, 55, died Sunday. A bat bit Reed on the ear in mid-October, but he did not report the incident or exhibit any rabies symptoms, said State Public Health Veterinarian Howard Pue.
"More rabies specific sorts of symptoms began to show up," Pue said. "Such as the anxiety, the mental confusion, agitation, literally the fear or anxiety associated with drinking water or eating food and so the physicians began to suspect rabies."
Rabies cases in humans are rare. In 2008 the department has reports of 61 rabid animals: 55 bats, five skunks, and one horse. That compares to an average of 54 total animals as of this date over the past 5 years, with an average of 42 bats and 10 skunks for the same time period. The United States has about one to three cases of rabies in people each year.
"With rabies you don’t really get a second shot at it," Pue said. "You have to prevent it. The anti rabies series of shots that a lot of people hear about are extremely effective virtually 100 percent effective in preventing rabies. But you have to receive the series of shots before you have the disease before you have the symptoms, because once the symptoms the disease is nearly 100 percent fatal and that is unfortunately what happened in this case."
The bottom line is, it’s important if a wild or domestic animal bites you to report what happened and receive appropriate medical attention.