Following on the heels of a case of bat-associated rabies in a South Carolina woman, a Massachusetts man has contracted rabies. Little information is currently available, although authorities state that they believe he was exposed by a bat in his home. News reports state that he’s in critical condition but it’s unfortunately very unlikely that he’ll survive. Family members are receiving post-exposure treatment, however it’s unclear whether this is because of concern for exposure from the infected man, or from the bat.
While these two cases don’t represent a rampant rabies epidemic, it shows that there is still a long way to go with education of the public about bats and rabies. Rabies is a disease of extremes. It is essentially 100% preventable in people if exposure is identified and managed properly. It’s also almost invariable fatal once disease sets in.