Real-Life Rabies Cases That Might Surprise You

real-life rabies casesDo you understand the seriousness of Rabies?  It’s 100% fatal!  Now that’s serious.  For animals, there is no treatment, but a simple vaccine can protect your pet.  Fortunately, for humans, there is a treatment that can save lives if started in time.  There are things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your pets from Rabies.  These real-life rabies cases might surprise you.



Here are some real-life rabies cases that might surprise you.

Concord, NH 1994:

In the state of New Hampshire, all pets sold at pet stores must receive an examination and health certificate from a veterinarian before the sale.  According to the state law, a veterinarian examined the litter of kittens before they went to the pet store.  Several kittens from the litter died unexpectantly during the first week of October.  On October 22nd another kitten from the same litter died from a seizure.  My husband, Dr. Paul DeMars, became involved with the case and immediately suspected Rabies.  The cat tested positive, and 665 people had to receive post-exposure treatment.  This incident is the largest human exposure case in the United States to this day.

South Carolina July 2007:

A softball coach at a multi-state softball tournament found a stray kitten in a garbage bin.  The kitten appeared healthy, so the coach put it in a box and took it to at least six different games.  The coach took the kitten home that evening.  The next day the kitten started behaving abnormally and became lethargic.  The coach took the kitten to a local veterinary clinic.  The kitten was too ill to be saved and was euthanized.  At the time of euthanasia, the coach signed a consent form that stated that the kitten had bitten no one.  Later, the coach discovered that the kitten bit a person trying to feed it.  Fortunately, the remains were still present, and authorities were able to test the kitten for Rabies.  The kitten tested positive for Rabies.  The public health department had to locate participants from the 60 teams in four different states to identify if anyone else was at risk.  27 people received post-exposure Rabies treatment.

Colorado 2018:

A woman found a baby raccoon in her backyard.  She took the animal home and showed her friends before contacting a local animal shelter hoping they could rehabilitate it and return it to its natural habitat.  The animal shelter contacted local public health officials, and the animal was euthanized and tested positive for Rabies.  21 people received post-exposure Rabies treatment.

Orlando, Florida 2018:

A man found a sick bat and placed it in a bucket.  He told his son not to touch it.  Unfortunately, the son didn’t listen to his father and touched the bat.  The father washed the wound but did not seek any other medical care.  One week later the boy developed numbness in his fingers and a headache.  The parents took the boy to a hospital for treatment where he later died from Rabies.

As you can see, each of these real-life rabies cases appears very innocent and safe when in fact they were not.  Keep yourself and others safe by contacting professionals such as animal control officers, game wardens, police or sheriff officers when dealing with any stray animal.  When no other option is available, and you must handle stray animals please wear protective gloves or cover the animal with a towel or blanket and then take to a local veterinarian immediately.  Contact authorities immediately if you are bitten by any stray animal or have any contact with a bat.

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