BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time in 75 years, there is a human case of rabies in Massachusetts.

The Department of Public Health made the announcement Friday, saying the patient is a man in his 60’s from Barnstable County on the Cape and that he is in the hospital in critical condition.

The exact cause of how he was infected is not yet known, but it was likely from a bat.

Rabies in humans is rare because most people who are bitten seek treatment right away.

Health officials say, in this case, the man was likely bitten in the last several weeks and did not know it.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

Bats were found in his home and investigators said it’s possible the man never realized he was bitten because the bats’ teeth are so small.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports

In some cases, rabies takes months to develop in humans.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Art Cohen reports

This is the first human rabies case in Massachusetts since 1935 and the sixth in the United States this year.

Read: Rabies Fact Sheet (.pdf)

According to DPH, rabies is almost always fatal:

“After a person is exposed to rabies, they can be given shots (called “immune globulin”) around the bite or scratch to help fight the virus where it entered the body. They will also get 4 or 5 vaccinations (shots) in their arm over several weeks. These shots will also help the person fight the virus. As long as the shots are given before the person starts to get sick, this will prevent them from getting rabies. If a person does not get the shots and then gets sick with rabies, there is no effective treatment.”

Comments (55)
  1. ladysforest says:

    A few years ago I read about a young woman who was diagnosed with rabies, they put her into a medically induced coma, and she did live. I wonder if they are doing that for this poor man?

    You would be stunned to know how many people believe that having rabies is just like having a bad flu, they don’t know it’s fatal.

    My heart goes out to this man and his family.

    1. Eric George says:

      It’s called the “Milwaukee Protocol” I believe and it has been successfully used to save a few more people since.
      Even with it the odds are against it working but hopefully they are using it because otherwise he has no hope at all.

      1. sbchater says:

        It’s so easy. Nobody has to be afraid of anyone but big pharma and its Nazis. Just read up on Robert Cathcart MD on Google.

      2. Eric says:

        They put the patient into a deep coma, pump them full of antiviral drugs, and hope the body’s immune system catches up. The first girl (in Milwaukee) did survive with some brain damage. A further 2 patients survived out of the first 25 treated worldwide, using the new protocol, both with some brain damage.

        The protocol was revises a bit, and a further 2 out of 10 patients have since survived with brain damage.

        Terrible odds, any way you look at it.

      3. Eric says:

        sbchater: Go play with bats and let us know how it works out for you.

        The only people who complain about “Big Pharma” are healthy ones. Get sick, and you’ll be running to the drug companies like an olympic sprinter.

    2. Martin says:

      It’s called the Milwaukee Protocol, it’s been attempted 36 times and only 4 people have survived all of them were either children or teens (no adult survivors). They don’t only induce the patient into a coma they also give them antivirals, treat nutritional deficiencies and neuro protective drugs such as Amantadine (anti-Parkinson’s and anti-influenza) and Ketamine. I don’t know if they’ll even attempt the protocol on this man as he’s in his 60s and the Milwaukee protocol page that was set up by the doctor who implemented it said the procedure is unlikely to work on patients under age 5 or patients over age 55. If it cannot be done then I hope they at least give him aggressive antiviral therapy. Perhaps he should be treated with Interferon gamma? I read a mouse study that mentioned those animals developed more rabies antibodies when interferon gamma was the most prominent interferon in the body. And since they have previously used neuro protective drugs on patients before like the one used in Parkinson’s (Amantadine), I don’t see the harm in using others such as Memantine (Alzheimer’s drug).

  2. snap says:

    Makes you want to stay up nights…

    1. Baldy Kirby from Atlanta says:

      Nahh – not much to watch except infomercials.

  3. charles says:

    good thing i participated in the “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure”.

  4. Mighty Casey says:

    “The exact cause of how he was infected is not yet known, but it was likely from a bat.”

    And to think, I played baseball all those years.

    Who knew that each time I stepped into the batter’s box or hit fungo I was at risk of contracting rabies…

  5. sandiego1969 says:

    …and the case was reported in a Democrat running for US senate.

  6. Rayzor says:

    Mass has outlawed trapping and most forms of limiting the expansion of the animals that carry rabies including coyotes and raccons. Too bad for the man that was affected by a bat, but I would think there is more to come without predator control.

    1. Caleb says:

      People get rabies from bats.that is because bats are naturally somewhat immune and can harbor the disease for long periods, live in colonies where it is disseminated, and transmit it to unsuspecting people through undetected contact. Other warm-blooded animals that contract rabies act very strange, are extremely aggressive, and die within 7-10 days of being able to spread the virus. In general, you are gonna know if you get bit by a fox, skunk, coon, or fox…you might miss getting bit or scratched by a bat.

    2. Tom Eberlin says:

      You nailed it! You reap what you sow.

      1. abbey says:

        Wrong. Usually rabies starts when rabid animals are brought in from other states for ‘game’. Fun huh? Don’t use this tragic case as just another ploy to re-introduce trapping for those who just love to kill animals. Trapping is sick and twisted no matter how you cut it.

    3. Eric says:

      They consume their weight in insects every day, and mosquitoes kill far more people than rabies. Even in this country. (West Nile Virus.j) Rabies is extremely rare even where bats are plentiful, and most of the rare cases happen because children play with sick bats that they pick up off the ground. The odds of getting bitten by a rabid bat in your own home “without noticing it” are on a par with getting hit by a falling satellite. That hardly seems like a reasonable excuse for eliminating a species, does it?

      Kill all the coyotes you want, though. They’re only native to the extreme south-western U.S. They’re an introduced, opportunistic species everywhere else and SHOULD be eradicated.

    4. Sherry says:

      Actually it’s the USFW that has expanded the protection of bats over the last year – they are treating them as protected species all over the country. This will continue to happen.

    5. alvin says:

      abbey; you are the one that is wrong! In our state there is several deaths every year from dear – crashes. Everyone in my family has had at least one accident with a dear. Also the small fur bearers are so out of control, they are found dead on our roads, spreading disease and killing of our large bird populations and their nesting sites. The problem with people like you abbey is you do not have a clue about nature or the wild life is managed.

  7. Ron T says:

    That is so scary about bats, also,carrying rabies, yikes!!

    Now, I wonder if other mammals, like house mice, or back yard squirrels, and chipmunks could also carry it?

    1. Al says:

      Mice don’t carry rabies. Squirrels and chipmunks can, but rarely do. When we were children a classmate of mine actually lost his life to a rabid chipmunk bite. Terrible tragedy.

    2. Caleb says:

      There are much more common problems to worry about from rodents than rabies. Just don’t mess with wildlife. If it’s too friendly….shoot it.

    3. Martin says:

      All mammals can carry the rabies virus, but it’s highly unlikely for a small rodent to spread the disease. Those small rodents are more likely to die from the bite (injury) of a larger rabid animal, which minimizes their ability to spread it.

  8. Nosgood4me says:

    Lay off the bats you numbnuts !

  9. Rich says:

    I seem to recall a death from rabies in Waltham about 20 years ago.

    If I recall correctly, he contracted the disease while in Africa.

  10. Antoinette Keen says:

    yes, they can. especially cats who eat or hunt mice or birds can pick it up very easily

  11. Kathyah says:

    Please do not know the creepy bats as long as you did. I was EATING DINNER. I know the news needs to be communicated. And normally can tolerate things unpleasant to me until the next story comes in. But I couldn’t stay on Channel 4. Hello Dr Oz.

  12. Jim says:

    Unfortunately, rabies can appear months after a dog bite. Can’t locate the dog or cat that bit you? Take the shots…

    1. Caleb says:

      I would have to agree, but when is the last time you heard of a rabid dog? The 50’s?

  13. Brian says:

    There is a widespread belief that one must be bitten for rabies transmission to occur. However, airborne transmission from aerosolized virus is possible and has been confirmed in the laboratory. Out of 26 human cases of bat rabies, only 2 had known bat bites and only 12 even had known contact. Authorities presist in assuming people where not only bitten without knowing it, but that they were bitten without even SEEING a bat. I suggest that a bat is not a tiny creature like a mosquito and bites by nonvisible bats are unlikely. In the interest of public health, more attention needs to be paid to airborn transmission of rabies. Skeptics need only enter these terms in a search engine.

  14. American says:

    Google Robert Cathcart MD

    Intravenous maximal tolerance vitamin C doses reportedly can cure any microbial-caused illness, including viruses. It enables the human body to suffer the effects of the infection while giving it time to identify and respond and wage war against the intruder. Reportedly, 2% or so of people can’t take large doses of vitamin C, so it would hurt or kill them, but the rest, it can cure polio, rabies, bird flu, etc. There was a case of bird flu in Atlanta which was cured, with the help of attorneys, who made the doctors administer the C treatment.

    The Amish don’t vaccinate their kids, and have no autism. Non-amish mostly vaccinate their kids and have 1 in 90 kids screwed up seriously for life, and far more brain-damaged to some degree, and that sort of thing is now like some sort of honor badge, ‘My child is autistic’. It’s another disease for life, courtesy of p companies, and the worthless treatment for it is also courtesy of the p companies.

    What it ought to be is a badge of shame for ignorantly subjecting children to the vaccines which caused the autism; vaccines which were and are unnecessary, since the mid-1950’s when Vitamin C therapy was discovered.

    And CBS, eat my shorts, you fascist Communist Bull Shit organization, who never tells the truth about Fukushima. Smily faced reporters bring you the adulterated or half-covered truth, every night on the evening news.

  15. Kevin says:

    Liberalism and socialism will kill us all. Just a matter of time. One thing can be counted on with liberals and socialists — repeating histories mistakes and harming the citizens through consequences.

    1. Kevin says:

      edit “hitsory’s”

      1. fred wilson says:

        ok kevin…put down the beer, and use BOTH hands to type….;)

    2. Ernie Zippreplat says:

      All Liberals are rabid, what do you expect?

    3. Craig B says:

      What does liberalism and socialism have to do with a rabies bite?

  16. Larry H says:

    Try intravenous mega-doses of vitamin C.
    Vitamin C kills the viruses.
    Even better is oral liposome encapsulated vitamin C.
    It will enter the cell to distribute the vitamin C.

    1. Thomas Hood says:

      Ummmm, no. You are 100% incorrect.

  17. aaron says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t disclose John Kerry’s name.

  18. Cathy Frenette says:

    Its not a Rabies case, it’s just a republican, symptoms are the same either way!

    Crazed, foaming at the mouth, fear of water, extremely stupid!

    1. abbey says:

      You are truly a nut case. The MA education system has destroyed any brain you might have had.

  19. DG says:

    Really, Cathy, that was uncalled for.

  20. Klaus says:

    Thanks, Mitt RomneyCare!

    1. abbey says:

      Mitt Romney Care??? What in hell does THAT have to do with anything?

    2. John Bascom says:

      How stupid are you? There is no cure for rabies in humans anywhere in the world. But taking a silly political position over a very rare tragedy like this is exactly what ive come to expect of small people like you.

  21. jeffreyp says:

    I would suggest liposomal sodium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate via iv (40-50 grams)

    1. Thomas Hood says:

      Does that cure Republicanism?

  22. hempstead says:

    No bat. Some politician bit a voter…….

  23. Dr.Alarm says:

    Keep blaming bats its not like their getting the $chit end of the stick with White nose along with the typical anti bat hysteria.. its always bats to a fool its not like every deer tick has Lyme’s either ..alarmist rabble…

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    Unavammof mulberry bags

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