Illinois Man Discovers Bat Colony in House, Dies After Contracting Rabies

by Michael Freeman

Most of us find it disturbing finding things like mice in our homes, but an Illinois man recently faced a much bigger problem. After discovering a bat colony within his house, he contracted rabies and died.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported yesterday an 80-year-old Illinois man died after contracting rabies from a bat and denying treatment. This is the first human case of rabies in almost 70 years. The man’s identity remains unknown, but reports state the man woke up and found a bat on his neck. After capturing the bat, it tested positive for rabies.

Wildlife experts then discovered the man’s home housed a bat colony. The department of public health stated he “was advised he needed to start postexposure rabies treatment.” Sadly, the man declined. Fast forward to this month and he began experiencing rabies symptoms. The symptoms included neck pain, headaches, difficulty controlling his arms, finger numbness, and difficulty speaking. The department also stated, “People who had contact with secretions from the individual were assessed and given rabies preventive treatment as needed.”

IDPH director Ngozi Ezike told PEOPLE more about the disease. “Rabies has the highest mortality rate of any disease. 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 may have been exposed to rabies, immediately seek medical attention and follow the recommendations of health care providers and public health officials.”

Lake County Health Department executive director Mark Pfister notes the United States faces a rabies exposure issue. Additionally, public safety officials, state bats carry other dangerous diseases and viruses, including coronaviruses.

Illinois Teenager Climbs Highest Peaks in All 50 States, Breaks Record as Youngest Female to do it

While one Illinois resident had a deadly encounter, another broke climbing records. An Illinois teenager recently broke the record of being the youngest female to climb the highest peaks in all 50 states.

Hailing from Naperville, Illinois, Lucy Westlake accomplished this feat earlier in the summer. Already impressive enough, some of the peaks she scaled are incredibly dangerous. The highest peak lies in Denali, Alaska. With its summit 20,310 feet in the air, any climber would like to have that trek under their belt.

Conversely, some of the summits aren’t high at all. For example, Florida’s highest summit is a measly 345 feet above sea level. Saving Mount McKinley for last, she scaled it with her father. Appropriately, the duo ascended the last 3,000 feet on Father’s Day. The two spent a whopping 40 days in the mountains climbing to the top. Interestingly, the father-daughter combo attempted the climb once before. Nonetheless, they turned back when their guides detoured to save stranded climbers.

Lucy Westlake took the title from Kristen Kelliher, who was 18 when she broke the previous record.