This Man Got Rabies After Discovering a Bat in His iPad Case
He received treatment for rabies just in time.
An 86-year-old man in New Hampshire had to get rabies treatments after settling in to use his iPad last week.
The patient, Roy Syvertson, was bitten by a bat that had somehow wedged itself between his iPad and the iPad case.
“It felt like a little bee sting. And I looked, and the bat was coming out of here, between the cover and the back of the pad,” Syvertson told news outlet WMUR.
He squeezed the iPad cover to get the bat outside. When he went to check on it later, the bat was dead. “Then I knew I might have a problem,” Syvertson said. He became worried he might have been exposed to rabies.
Rabies is deadly if not addressed immediately after one has been exposed to it. Syvertson said he called the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and the officer he spoke to said, “I would like you to go to the hospital right away. Waste no time.”
He’s lucky he followed the officer’s advice because he had, in fact, been infected with rabies. He was immediately started on rabies treatments at a local hospital. The Fish and Game Department tested the bat that had infected him and found that it had been rabid.
Rabies is spread to humans via an infected animal’s saliva; it’s usually transmitted via a bite.
The animals that are most likely to transmit the virus in the US are coyotes, bats, foxes, skunks, and raccoons, Mayo Clinic says.
“Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal. For this reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting rabies should receive rabies vaccines for protection,” Mayo Clinic explains.
Signs of rabies include headache, fever, nausea, agitation, confusion, anxiety, vomiting, excessive salivation, difficulty swallowing, hyperactivity, hallucinations, partial paralysis, insomnia, and fear of water (due to swallowing difficulties).
Because rabies treatment is urgent, you should seek medical care if you’ve been bitten by an animal that could be rabid. Rabies is more common in some developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Fortunately, Syvertson received treatment in time and is now recovering. When addressing the question of how the bat got into his iPad case, he joked, “He probably knew my password.”