U.S. health officials are warning of the rise in rabies cases among humans following the deaths of five people including a child suffered the illness in the last year.
The deaths of people in Idaho, Illinois, Texas and Minnesota occurred after each victim was in direct contact with bats with rabid venom between the end of September and early November, as per the Thursday report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fifth victim was bit by an animal dog from the Philippines before coming back home to the U.S.
The number of cases of rabies for humans in one year than in 2011 CDC experts on rabies Amber Kunkel and Ryan Wallace said to USA Today, despite no cases were reported in either 2019 or 2020.
The increase in cases could be because of a lack of awareness of the dangers of rabies, and what to do if exposed according to the CDC claimed, since the number of bats that are rabid recorded across the nation has been the same since 2007. The CDC recommends calling medical professionals when a person comes into direct contact with bats.
“We have made significant strides distance in United States toward reducing the number of people sick each year with rabies. However, this latest number of cases serves as a sobering reminder that contact with bats can pose the risk of health problems,” Wallace, a veterinarian and expert in rabies stated in an official statement.
Three of the victims were not treated that includes a rabies vaccine, health officials stated. One of the victims had a bat roost inside their house, and one of them picked up the bat using their naked hands.
Bats with rabid flies are responsible for 70percent of those suffering from rabies according to the CDC stated.
Bats have teeth that are small and their bites rarely leave visible marks, however the rabies virus can be spread through saliva infected the CDC advised.
The agency recommends making contact with your state’s or local animal control or health department to assist in trapping the bat for testing for the presence of rabies. The testing of a bat will aid in determining if a treatment known as post-exposure prevention, or PEP is needed.
PEP is comprised of the human rabies immune globulin as well as rabies vaccine . It is followed by three doses more of the vaccine during fourteen days in accordance with the CDC.
PEP, which can be used following contact with any animal that is rabid, is almost 100 100% effective in stopping the development of rabies, according to CDC.
“Getting PEP can be a”life-or-death issue,” the agency said.
Rabies-related deaths within the U.S. are uncommon, however, the CDC estimates that about 65,000 people get PEP every year to help prevent the spread of.
In spite of the increasing number of cases of rabies, Kunkel and Wallace declared it important to keep in mind that bats aren’t our foes.
“Bats are an important part of the natural environment. They feed on insects, which can transmit other illnesses,” they said. “The problem arises when bats and humans meet one another, which could pose risk to bat and humans’ health.”