Human Rabies — Wyoming and Utah, 2015

Alexia Harrist, MD, PhD; Ashley Styczynski, MD; DonRaphael Wynn, MD; Safdar Ansari, MD; Justin Hopkin, MD; Harry Rosado-Santos, MD; JoDee Baker, MPH; Allyn Nakashima, MD; Annette Atkinson MS; Melanie Spencer, MPH; Debbie Dean, MSN; Leslie Teachout, MT; Jeanmarie Mayer, MD; Rene E. Condori, MS; Lillian Orciari, MS; Ashutosh Wadhwa, PhD; James Ellison, PhD; Michael Niezgoda; Brett Petersen, MD; Ryan Wallace, DVM; Karl Musgrave, DVM


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2016;65(21):529-533. 

In This Article


In September 2015, a Wyoming woman was admitted to a local hospital with a 5-day history of progressive weakness, ataxia, dysarthria, and dysphagia. Because of respiratory failure, she was transferred to a referral hospital in Utah, where she developed progressive encephalitis. On day 8 of hospitalization, the patient's family told clinicians they recalled that, 1 month before admission, the woman had found a bat on her neck upon waking, but had not sought medical care. The patient's husband subsequently had contacted county invasive species authorities about the incident, but he was not advised to seek health care for evaluation of his wife's risk for rabies. On October 2, CDC confirmed the patient was infected with a rabies virus variant that was enzootic to the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans). The patient died on October 3. Public understanding of rabies risk from bat contact needs to be improved; cooperation among public health and other agencies can aid in referring persons with possible bat exposure for assessment of rabies risk.