One Dead, 40 Hospitalized After Vampire Bats Attack in Brazil

  • Bats feast on man till he died
  • Dozens more being treated for rabies in hospital
  • Incident happened in North East Brazil

 

One person has been reported dead and 40 others undergoing rabies treatment over vampire bats attack in Brazil which has since caused widespread panic in Salvador, northeastern region of the country.

Health chiefs confirmed farmer Edivalson Francisco Souza, 46, died in March more than a week after he was bitten on the foot by a rabies-carrying vampire bat.

Within days of his death – the first recorded case of human rabies transmitted by a bat in Brazil since 2004 – dozens of people in the region reported being bitten by the winged mammals in their own homes, they said.

The spate of attacks, the most significant ever registered in the region, is being attributed to a rise in the bat population nesting close to humans after their homes in caves and forestry were destroyed.

One Dead, 40 Hospitalized After Vampire Bats Attack in Brazil
Residents of the city are being advised to sleep with all windows shut Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

In response, disease control teams from Bahia state health authority (SESAB) have started culling the creatures by catching them and applying a venom paste to their bodies.

Mr Souza was milking a cow on a farm in Paramirim when he accidentally stepped on a rabies-carrying bat that bit his foot.

He dismissed the incident and washed the wound but failed to see a doctor.

 

At a glance | The hairy-legged vampire bat

  • The hairy-legged vampire bat is one of three species.
  • It mainly lives in the tropical sub-tropical forests of Central America, South America and Mexico.
  • The bat feeds on the blood of large birds.
  • This bat has good eyesight, but poor echolocation.
  • It is a solitary bat and doesn’t fly in groups.

 

Three weeks later, after spending seven days in hospital, suffering from headaches, nausea, severe anxiety and shortness of breath, he recalled the incident.

He tested positive for rabies, but it was too late for doctors to administer the vaccine and he passed away shortly afterwards in March this year.

Within days of Mr Souza’s death, residents in city of Salvador, 400 miles from Paramirim, reported a flurry of attacks by the blood-thirsty creatures that appear to have added human blood to their menu.

Over the past three months, dozens of people have told of being terrorised by the flying mammals at night.

Many said they had woken up to the distressing sight of their bed sheets soaked in blood after bats had sunk their fangs into their toes, heels and elbows.

 

 

Read more: Mirror, Telegraph

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