Woman dies after being bitten by bat in Highlands County

Health officials say a Florida resident who was bitten by a bat has died of rabies.

Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri tells Orlando TV station WKMG the victim didn't seek treatment. She didn't identify the victim, though we're told it's a woman who lived in Highlands County. We don't know exactly when the bite occurred or when the victim died.

She says it's important to avoid direct contact with wildlife.

Gambineri says it's important for bite victims to receive treatment as soon as possible, adding that untreated rabies can cause a nearly 100 percent fatal illness in humans.

Health officials say the main wildlife sources of rabies in Florida are raccoons and bats.

After news of the woman's death broke, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office posted this to their Facebook page.

"By now,many of you have probably heard this story. If you are EVER bitten by an animal, even if it is an animal you know, always seek immediate medical attention. Even a small nip that breaks the skin can transmit rabies, and the sad fact is that if you get rabies, you die. It is almost 100 percent lethal to humans who do not get timely treatment."

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© 2017 Associated Press


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