Illinois man bitten on neck by bat dies of rabies

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An Illinois resident in his ‘80s awoke to a bat on his neck at home in mid-August and declined a rabies vaccine for reasons unknown, reports the Washington Post.

A month later he died of the disease.

Wildlife experts later found a colony of bats living in his home.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, it’s the first known case of a human contracting rabies in Illinois since 1954.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said only one to three human rabies cases are reported in the U.S. a year.

The victim’s name wasn’t released.

“Sadly, this case underscores the importance of raising public awareness about the risk of rabies exposure in the United States,” Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, said in a news release.

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While human rabies cases are preventable and rare, the disease is more than 99% fatal once contracted.

Anyone who may have been bitten by a rabid animal should seek treatment immediately, officials advise, and that usually amounts to four doses in the arm over two weeks.

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