Illinois man dies from rabies after apparent bat bite

Illinois man dies from rabies after apparent bat bite
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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) says that a man has died after being apparently bitten by a bat, CBS affiliate WBBM reported on Tuesday, the first human case of rabies in the state since 1954.

IDPH said that in mid-August an 80-year-old man woke up to find a bat on his neck, which was later captured by authorities and tested positive for rabies. 

"The individual was advised he needed to start postexposure rabies treatment but declined,” the department reportedly said in a statement. 

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The department also said that people who were in close contact with the deceased man were assessed and given rabies preventative treatment. 

“Rabies has the highest mortality rate of any disease,” IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said, according to WBBM. “However, there is life-saving treatment for individuals who quickly seek care after being exposed to an animal with rabies. If you think you may have been exposed to rabies, immediately seek medical attention and follow the recommendations of health care providers and public health officials.”

A total of 30 bats have tested positive for rabies in Illinois this year, Chicago CBS reported. 

Even though human cases are rare, an estimated 60,000 people each year have received vaccines due to rabies exposure, the department said. 

Symptoms from rabies include neck pain, a headache, numbness, difficulty controlling his arms, finger numbness, and difficulty speaking.