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Mass. has first rabies case in 75 years

Dec. 30, 2011 at 5:28 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Health officials in Massachusetts say they've confirmed the state's first human case of rabies in 75 years, and a man is hospitalized in critical condition.

Authorities said the infection was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a Barnstable County man who was likely infected by a bat in his home, The Boston Globe reported Thursday.

It's the sixth case this year in the United States but the first in Massachusetts since 1935, the newspaper said.

Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach said there is no reason to believe there are any more rabid animals in the state than in recent years.

"This is not a reason for people to panic," he said. "There is no elevated risk here."

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system and can be fatal.

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