A Spring Grove man died in the state’s first case of human rabies since 1954

A Spring Grove man died in the state’s first case of human rabies since 1954.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the diagnosis on Tuesday, the Lake County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health reported.

The McHenry County Coroner’s Office said Thomas Krupp, 87, died on September 20 at Northwestern McHenry Hospital.

Health departments said Krupp woke up in mid-August to find a bat on his neck.

The bat was captured and tested for rabies. Krupp refused rabies treatment after exposure and began experiencing symptoms consistent with rabies about a month later.

Health officials said wildlife experts found a colony of bats in Krupp’s home. Subjects who had close contact with Krob were evaluated and given prophylactic treatment as needed.

“Rabies has the highest mortality rate of any other disease,” said Ngozi Ezeki, director of the International Phytosanitary Institute. “However, there is a life-saving treatment for individuals who quickly seek care after being exposed to an animal with rabies.

“If you think you have been exposed to rabies, seek medical attention immediately and follow the recommendations of your health care providers and public health officials.”

Rabies is a disease that attacks the nervous system. Symptoms include neck pain, headache, difficulty controlling the arms, numbness of the fingers, and difficulty speaking.

Only one to three cases of rabies in humans occur each year in the United States, but an estimated 60,000 people still receive a vaccine after they may have been exposed to rabies.

“Unfortunately, this case underscores the importance of raising public awareness about the risks of exposure to rabies in the United States,” said Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department.

Bats are the most common type of rabies in Illinois. Health departments have said that more than 1,000 bats annually are tested for rabies in Illinois and about 3% have tested positive.

Anyone who comes into contact with a bat should alert animal control to capture it.

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