Massachusetts man in critical condition in state's first human rabies case in 75 years
Massachusetts public health officials suspect the man contracted rabies from a bat at his residence.
December 30th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

Massachusetts man in critical condition in state's first human rabies case in 75 years

A Massachusetts man is in critical condition after contracting rabies, the state’s first human case of the disease in 75 years, a Public Health Department spokesman confirmed to CNN on Friday.

The Barnstable County man is in his 60s and is not being identified, Health Department spokesman John Jacobs said.

Health officials suspect the man, who is in Cape Cod Hospital, contracted the virus from a bat at his residence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are performing tests to confirm the species, according to a Health Department news release.

The man’s family may have been exposed and are being treated, CNN affiliate WCVB reported.

Rabies is a virus that is spread from saliva, most commonly through a bite. It can be deadly in animals and humans if not treated quickly. The virus attacks the brain and nervous system. Common symptoms in animals include excessive drooling and unusual aggression. Humans may exhibit fever, sore throat and numbness or tingling at the site of the bite, according to medical manuals.

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Two or three people die from the disease each year, a 97% drop over the past century, according to the CDC.

Two weeks ago, a South Carolina man died from rabies, the state’s first case in half a century, CNN affiliate WPDE reported.

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Filed under: Animals • U.S.
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Isn't that Mitt Romney's state?

    December 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • How observant of you

      Yes. But he hasn't been governer for a long time. This happened on Patrick's watch. Blame him. Tool.

      December 30, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Robin dammit, I told you to keep an eye on your bat friend.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. andrew

    test the dog pets too.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    How many people nationwide get bitten by something-or-other and are given the rabies vaccine...that's a question that needs an answer. I suspect that's not as rare as we're led to believe.

    December 30, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe'"

    Rabid cable news

    December 30, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tcr C2

    Any body contracts such a virus it has to be released to the public but not names so if it was more frequent we would know

    December 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. the Count

    Mwooo hah hah hah hah.

    December 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BOMBO

    You Americans are funny. Now politicians are getting blamed for rabies. Makes as much sense as blaming them for earthquakes, I suppose. Could the former or current governor have forseen or prevented this bat attack? I'm sure they'll be discussing that on John King USA tonight.

    December 30, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mr. Ducky ™

    There are many bites by animals where the series of anti-rabies shots are given as a preventive measure.
    I hear about it semi-frequently around here.

    Where there is urban wildlife, there are bites. Racc oons, squirrels...they pose risks.

    @bc(iah)©:
    Lol. A Batman that bites. Holy rabies, Batman!
    Holy rabies, Batman!

    December 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mr. Ducky ™

    BOMBO:
    I am increasing wanting to move up North.
    I am getting rather tired of America's silly shenanigans!

    December 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOMBO

    Shenanigan. Another good word. Makes me think of an Irish janitor, or something.

    Shenanigan, mop that floor again. It's filthy.

    December 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Father Patrick Shenanigan ©, Archbishop of Cork and Kerry

    Aye, and a Happy New year to all.

    December 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mr. Ducky™

    BOMBO:
    Evil shenanigans.

    Super Troopers.

    December 30, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. buttpirate

    I didn't notice.

    December 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)©

    So, did the bat bite, or did he contract it some other way ? The story doesn't say. If he was bitten, how the heck did that happen ?

    December 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
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