Rabies Case Study
Reproduced from the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention website (Click
here to view).
In February 1995, the aunt of a 4-year-old girl
was awakened by the sounds of a bat in the room where the child
was sleeping. The child did not wake up until the bat was captured,
killed, and discarded. The girl reported no bite, and no evidence
of a bite wound was found when she was examined. One month later
the child became sick and died of rabies. The dead bat was recovered
from the yard and testedit had rabies.
This case demonstrates several points:
- This childs infection with rabies was
most likely the result of a bat bite. Children sleep heavily and
may not awaken from the presence of a small bat. A bat bite can
be superficial and not easily noticed.
- The bat was behaving abnormally. Instead of
hiding, the bat was making unusual noises and was having difficulty
flying. This strange behavior should have led to a strong suspicion
- If the bat had been submitted for rabies testing,
a positive test would have led to life-saving anti-rabies treatment.
Remember, in situations in which a bat is
physically present and you cannot reasonably rule out having been
bitten, safely capture the bat for rabies testing and seek medical