This is remarkable: A teenage girl in Wisconsin is recovering from rabies. She was bitten by a rabid bat but did not receive the rabies vaccinations, and was admitted to medical care with symptoms of full-blown rabies. Her survival is amazing: Virtually nobody survives rabies, and all known cases of survival were situations in which the patients had received vaccine. Doctors induced a coma and dosed her with several antiviral drugs.
She’s a startlingly lucky girl who got good medical care. But what really blows me away is this:
Jeanna, of Fond du Lac, was bitten by a bat at a church service on Sept. 12. She did not visit a doctor and so was not vaccinated, as is standard medical practice for such an exposure.
“As society has developed, people have forgotten the folklore about don’t play with stray animals, or stay away from bats,” Dr. Willoughby explained. The bat drew blood, he said, but the bite was quick and small, so Jeanna thought she had just been scratched. Her fellow churchgoers assumed that only healthy bats could fly, so they picked it up after it flew into a window and threw it out the door.
We’ve forgotten about not playing with bats?! I realize that the doctor is trying to come up with some explanation for the failure to take the girl to the clinic, pronto, but that’s not a very good reason. They all assumed that rabid bats can’t fly? Just like rabid dogs can’t walk?
There’s more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.