6-year-old Florida boy dies of rabies contracted from a bat

Rabies Warning
Rabies Warning(KWTX)
Published: Jan. 15, 2018 at 2:01 PM EST
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A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.

The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital.

Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it in a bucket and told his son not to touch it, but he did and was scratched.

He said he washed the wound thoroughly but didn't take the boy to the hospital because he cried when he was told he would get shots. About a week later the boy developed numb fingers and a headache and his parents took him for hospital treatment.

Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms develop. A vaccine given after a wound but before symptoms almost always prevents the disease.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

2 rabid bats recently discovered in St. Joseph County

Jan. 11, 2018

Two rabid bats were recently discovered in St. Joseph County, but state officials say Hoosiers can protect their family members and pets by taking a few common sense precautions.

Rabies is a viral disease that infects the brain and spinal cord of mammals, including humans. It is almost always fatal if untreated.

If you are exposed to rabies, the disease can be prevented with shots before symptoms develop.

Dr. Sandra Norman, a veterinarian with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, recommends the following guidelines to reduce the risk of rabies exposure to people and animals:

- Avoid contact with wild animals (not just bats) at all times. Do not feed or handle wild animals, and secure any trash and pet food in animal-proof containers. Cover attic and chimney openings and other entry points in the home which may invite unwanted visitors.

- Wild animals are generally active at night and avoid contact with people. Daytime contact with humans is unusual, and should be viewed suspiciously.

- Indiana law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets 3 months of age or older be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed, accredited veterinarian. Pets should be kept close to home, as free-roaming animals are at higher risk of exposure to the disease.

- If your pet is bitten or attacked by a wild animal, contact your veterinarian and local animal control. Your pet will need a booster if the animal is determined to be rabid.

- If you or someone in your family is bitten or scratched by a wild or stray animal or a pet, attempt to confine or kill the animal or determine the owner of the pet (if this can be done without risk of further injury). Wear leather or latex gloves when handling all animals with possible exposure (dead or alive).

- Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Call your physician at once to determine treatment and make sure the bite is reported to the local department of health and animal control.

For more information about rabies prevention and safety, visit the Indiana State Board of Animal Health online at www.boah.in.gov.