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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cape Cod rabies death heightens awareness of virus in bats

Historically, rabies came with a warning.

A dog or other infected animal, staggering, perhaps foaming at the mouth, would launch an attack for no apparent reason.

Seeing this, people knew to back away.

Pet vaccinations and prompt medical treatment have all but eliminated human loss of life due to rabies. Until last week, the last death due to rabies in Massachusetts was recorded in 1935.

But a Barnstable man died Monday in a Boston hospital, the victim of an attack which came in a way for which little or no warning or protection exists.

A rabid bat likely got into his house and bit him, perhaps without his even being aware of it because such bites can have the size and appearance of a pin prick.

Kevin Galvin, 63, of the Barnstable village of Marstons Mills died Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to the Cape Cod Times. State and local public health officials would not confirm the cause of death, The Times reported. Read More