Two Boys Undergoing Rabies Treatment After Bat Bite in Grand Junction
Two boys from Grand Junction are being treated and monitored for rabies after they woke up one morning to find a bat in their room.
The elder boy, 11-year-old Brian Cripps, awoke when he felt something brushing his side. Then, as he moved his hand to brush it away, he felt a distinct bite and discovered the bat, still clenched to his skin. He called out to his 10-year-old brother Jaxson, sleeping in the bunk below him, for help.
"When I figured out it was a bat, I was like 'No, no, no, get it away, no!'" Jaxson later told news reporters. But Brian understood that they would need to keep the animal for testing to determine if it had rabies.
"Luckily he had the presence of mind to grab the animal," the boys' mother, Tracy Cripps, said.
Tracy quickly brought the whole family -- and the bat, now dead -- to the emergency room at South Haven Health System hospital, where Brian received an immediate dose of rabies-immune globulin, which would prevent the spread of the disease in the event that the boy had contracted the disease from the bite.
After tests came back positive that the bat did in fact have rabies, brother Jaxson also received a similar series of injections, in case he had also been bitten and not noticed it.
The transfer of rabies from animals to humans is rare in the U.S., but it is possible. Unlike the most common ailments addressed by urgent care clinics, upper respiratory conditions and wound repair, there are only two to three documented cases of human rabies infection per year. About 40,000 people every year will receive preventative treatment, however.
"The number of human cases of rabies has declined dramatically over the years thanks to development of improved human vaccines and the efforts to vaccinate pets and livestock against rabies," said Jennifer Eisner, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. "In Michigan, the majority of rabies-positive animals are bats. If you find a bat in your home, especially if it's in a sleeping area, safely confine the animal and contact your local health department right away to find out if testing is recommended."
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