CDC Reports First Death In U.S. From Vampire Bat

The Centers for Disease Control has released information about the first reported death from a vampire bat in the United States.

The CDC reports a migrant farm worker, age 19, was bitten and developed a vampire bat rabies virus variant.

The man was hospitalized in Louisiana in July 2010 with encephalitis. The CDC reports he developed acute neurologic symptoms at the end of July, shortly after arriving in the United States from Michoacan, Mexico.

He died a month later.

His mother reported that he had been bitten by a bat in July in Mexico but had not sought medical care. That's according to the CDC.

Treatment was offered to 27 of the patient's contacts in Louisiana and 68 healthcare workers involved in his care.

The CDC reports "although bats have become the primary source of human rabies in the United States, this is the first reported death from a vampire bat rabies virus variant in the United States. Clinicians caring for patients with acute progressive encephalitis should consider rabies in the differential diagnosis and implement early infection control measures."

The CDC reported the case in its August 12, 2011 Morbidity and Mortality weekly report.

The CDC also reports "although vampire bats currently are found only in Latin America, research suggests that the range of these bats might be expanding as a result of changes in climate. Expansion of vampire bats into the United States likely would lead to increased bat exposures to both humans and animals (including domestic livestock and wildlife species) and substantially alter rabies virus dynamics and ecology in the southern United States."

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