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6-year-old Contracts and Dies from Rabies After Touching Bat

A young boy from Florida has passed away after he contracted rabies following an encounter with an infected bat. The boy in question, Ryker Roque, was only 6 years old when he died.

In an interview with NBC, the boy’s father, Henry Roque, opened up about the events leading up to his son contracting rabies.

Mr. Roque first found the bat while walking around his property in the morning. After noticing that the bat looked sickly, Mr. Roque – who feared that the animal had rabies – decided to safely remove it from his front lawn.

Using thick gloves and a mask, Mr. Roque was able to safely pick up the bat and place it in a bucket.

When Mr. Roque returned to his home, he warned his son about the bat in the bucket and explicitly told him not to touch it under any circumstances. Unfortunately, Ryker didn’t obey his father’s instructions and ended up getting scratched by the rabies-infected bat.

By the time the boy told his father what happened, it had been several hours since the initial encounter. After Ryker’s father inspected the scratch, he decided that the wound – which was shallow and clean – could be patched up without consulting a medical professional.

According to the New York Post, Mr. Roque’s decision not to take his son to the hospital was made after Ryker began crying about the possibility of having needles.

A week after making this fateful decision, Ryker’s health took a turn for the worse. The first indication that things weren't right coming when Ryker complained about numb fingers and an intense headache.

When these symptoms continued, Mr. and Mrs. Roque took their son to the hospital to seek professional medical attention.

Unfortunately, by the time that Ryker was taken to a doctor, he was already suffering from advanced symptoms of rabies. If Ryker had been taken to hospital when he was first scratched, there is a very high likelihood that he could have been given a vaccine and his death could have been prevented.

“Once a subject begins experiencing the symptoms of rabies, the chances of survival plummet,” said a representative of the Florida Department of Health.

In a statement to media outlets, the Florida Department of Health confirmed that Ryker Roque died from rabies, with a spokesperson saying:

"[We have] confirmed a single human case of rabies that was likely transmitted when an individual was bitten by a bat and did not receive post-exposure prophylaxis. Unfortunately, the individual did pass away."

"It is important to avoid direct contact with wildlife," the spokesperson continued.

"If you believe you may have been exposed to rabies, contact your health care provider and your county health department immediately. If an exposure occurred, it is important to administer treatment right away."

This isn’t the first time that Florida has recorded a death from contact with bats infected with rabies. In October 2017, an unnamed resident of Highlands County passed away when he decided not to seek medical attention after having contact with an infected bat.

In data collected by the CDC, the Federal Department of Health concluded that 92 percent of all reported cases of rabies were due to contact with bats, raccoons, or other wild animals.
Source: NY Post
Photo: Dailymail

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