Top 5 Takeaways

  1. A Fatal Case of Human Rabies: A 7-year-old boy in Texas died from rabies after being bitten by a bat, with the disease not recognized until clinical symptoms appeared two months later.
  2. Lack of Awareness and Delayed Treatment: The absence of visible bite marks and unawareness about rabies risks from bats led to a lack of immediate medical attention.
  3. Widespread Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP): Following the diagnosis, 57 people who had potential exposure received advice on rabies PEP, with one-third of the child’s contacts meeting exposure criteria.
  4. Increased Public Education Needed: The incident underscores the need for enhanced public education about the risks of bat contact and the importance of seeking PEP.
  5. Rabies Prevalence in the U.S.: Bats are the most common source of domestically acquired rabies in the U.S., responsible for over 80% of human infections since 2000.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Faisal S. Minhaj,

Suggested Citation

Blackburn D, Minhaj FS, Al Hammoud R, et al. Human Rabies — Texas, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1547–1549 DOI:


In late August 2021, a young boy in Medina County, Texas, was bitten by a bat. The absence of visible bite marks and lack of awareness about rabies risk resulted in no immediate medical care. Two months later, he showed symptoms like altered mental status and seizures, leading to his hospitalization and eventual rabies diagnosis. Despite experimental treatments, the child passed away 22 days after symptom onset.


Once rabies was suspected, various samples were collected for testing. Interviews were conducted with family and community contacts to assess potential exposures. Public health efforts included advising contacts about rabies PEP and educating the community on rabies risks and prevention.


This case highlighted the lack of public awareness regarding rabies risk from bats, especially when bite marks are not visible. The delay in recognizing rabies and seeking medical care, along with the unsuccessful treatment attempt, emphasizes the importance of immediate medical consultation after potential exposures. The case also demonstrated the effectiveness of standard precautions in healthcare settings to prevent rabies transmission.


The tragic outcome of this case underlines the critical need for public education about rabies risks, particularly from bat contacts, and the importance of prompt PEP administration following potential exposures. It reinforces that rabies remains a public health concern in the U.S. and the necessity of timely interventions.



This has been your booster shot of MMWR Info! Please check back for more MMWR, Public Health, and Programming Tutorial content daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>