December 9, 2023

An Illinois man died of rabies in the state's first human case since the 1950s

An Illinois man died of rabies in the state’s first human case since the 1950s

The Illinois Health officials said Tuesday that a man died this month in the state’s first case of human rabies since 1954.

A Lake County man in his 80s woke up in mid-August and found one paddle on his neck.

The bat was captured and tested for rabies, but when health officials told the man he needed to start rabies treatment after exposure, he refused, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said. In the current situation.

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The gray-headed fruit bat (Pteropus poliocephalus), a native Australian bat, spreads its leathery wings as it flies high above the Sydney Botanic Gardens, August 17, 2005 (GREG WOOD / AFP via Getty Images)

After a month, the man began experiencing symptoms of rabies, including neck pain, difficulty controlling his arms, numbness in the fingers, and difficulty speaking.

He later died and found a bat colony in his house.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the diagnosis on Tuesday.

One to three cases of rabies are reported in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials added that without proper treatment, rabies is usually fatal after symptoms appear.

Dr. said. Ngozi Ezeki, director of the International Institute of Public Health. “However, there is life-saving treatment available for those who seek help quickly after exposure to an animal with rabies. If you think you have been exposed to rabies, seek medical advice immediately and follow good healthcare and public health recommendations.” Providers”.

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While cases of rabies in humans are rare in the United States, exposure to rabies is still widespread. According to health officials, an estimated 60,000 Americans receive a “series of post-exposure vaccinations” each year.

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“Unfortunately, this case highlights the importance of increasing public awareness of the risks of exposure to rabies in the United States,” said Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Department of Health.

In Illinois, bats are the most common way of transmitting rabies. At least 30 bats have tested positive for rabies in the state this year.


Rabies is usually transmitted by an animal bite. Other animals most susceptible to the spread of rabies are dogs, wolves, foxes, skunks, and raccoons. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.