LOUISIANA – For the first time in U.S. history, vampire bats are attacking and killing citizens.
U.S. health authorities have announced the first deaths by vampires bat in the United States.
On August 8, a 19-year-old man was bitten by a vampire bat just outside Baton Rouge. Ten days later, the farm worker fell sick, presenting symptoms of fatigue, shoulder pain, numbness in his left hand and a drooping left eye. He died the next morning.
Three days later, thirty-five people, attending a County Fair in Baton Rouge were attacked b several vampire bats. The victims, all in their 20s, all died within a week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently wrote, “These cases represent the first reported human deaths from vampire bat rabies virus variant in the United States.” According to the CDC, the victims had a notably aggressive form of rabies.
Prior to the Louisiana attacks, there have been 32 human rabies cases reported to the CDC since 2000. And in just one week there were over 100 attacks with 36 confirmed deaths.
The CDC made this statement: “Although vampire bats currently are found only in Latin America, research suggests that the range of these bats might be expanding as a result of changes in climate. Expansion of vampire bats into the United States likely would lead to increased bat exposures to both humans and animals (including domestic livestock and wildlife species) and substantially alter rabies virus dynamics and ecology in the southern United States.”
Vampire bats are able to find blood through a heat-detecting molecule covering nerve endings on their noses. Once an adult vampire bat has found a vein to feed on, it can drink half of its body weight in blood.
Although the bats should be feared, killing bats is not the answer, and the CDC writes, “the elimination of vampire bats to prevent human or animal rabies remains controversial.”
The CDC is considering issuing a vampire bat alert across the entire Southeast of the United States.