BAT ATTACK: Two Spaniards treated for rabies

Two people in Spain sought medical treatment this summer after having been bitten by rabies-infected bats.

A 19-year-old man from Huelva and a 59-year-old woman from Valladolid are in good health after having immediately gone in search of medical treatment.

The first case occurred in June in the northern Spanish city of Valladolid while the second took place 650 kilometres to the south in Huelva.

The 59-year-old woman was attacked and bitten by the bat when she opened a cupboard in her house and the animal flew out from within. The second case saw a 19-year-old bitten after he tried to take the bat away from his cat, who was playing with it like a toy.

The two victims are in good health after being treated early for rabies, a process that involved treating the wound and being injected by rabies immune globulin and completing a course of vaccinations.

“They were lucky and the health services have worked well,” said Rufino Álamo, the head of public health information for the Castilla y León regional government. “Rabies is deadly in practically all cases if it develops. It’s important to remember that if anyone is in a similar situation, they should wash the wound well with water and soap and immediately seek medical help at a public centre. It is also good to explain to children, who usually play with animals if they find them, that they shouldn’t touch bats and, in the case of a bite, they should immediately tell their parents.”

Only 17 cases of rabies have been reported in Spain in the last 20 years, yet three people a year die from rabies in the United States following symptoms that include fever, changes in mood, nausea, vomiting, photophobia, drooling and convulsions.

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