Swiss couple that handled rabid bat in Florida located

Author: AP
Bats flying. Credit: WINK News

Florida public health officials say a Swiss couple who recently handled a bat in East Naples that turned out to have rabies have been located and are getting medical attention.

The Swiss government has located the couple. They’ve have returned to Switzerland, and is ensuring appropriate care is being provided.

The Naples Daily News reports that on Jan. 18, the Collier County health department said an unidentified couple believed to be from Switzerland transported a bat to a veterinary clinic. The couple came into contact with the bat outside a store.

Tests results came back that the bat had rabies.

The Swiss government issued a health alert Jan. 25 that it had been contacted by health authorities in the United States about the Swiss couple, according to the Federal Office of Public Health in Bern, Switzerland.

The rabies virus is spread through saliva, and humans can become infected through a bite wound, scratch or exposure of a fresh cut to saliva of a rabid animal. Rabies is a disease of the nervous system which can cause paralysis or be fatal. All domestic animals should be vaccinated.

A 6-year-old boy, Ryker Roque, died of rabies in Orlando in mid-January. He was scratched by a bat, got sick, and wound up hospitalized.

The boy’s father found the sick bat and put it in a bucket. The father told the boy not to touch it, but the boy did and got scratched. The father said he washed the wound yet didn’t take his son to the hospital because the boy cried when he was told he would need shots. A week later, the youngster’s fingers became numb and he developed other symptoms, prompting his parents to take him to the hospital.

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