A young Mexican migrant worker' was the victim of the first documented vampire bat bite death in the United States, health authorities said Friday.
In July 2010, the 19-year old migrant worker contracted rabies after being bit on his heel in Michoacan, Mexico. He then traveled to work on a sugar cane plantation in Louisiana and became ill. He did not get a rabies vaccination, but sought medical attention for symptoms that included fatigue, shoulder pain and numbness around his body.
The teen died on Aug. 12, 2010.
A year to day later Friday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the death as the first case in the U.S. of a lethal vampire bat bite.
The victim was reported to have had a shorter incubation period for rabies (15 days as opposed to 85 for average cases in the U.S.). The CDC reported that postmortem tests confirmed the variant of the vampire bat virus present in his system.
The health agency warned that while vampire bat populations are primarily found in South America, "research suggests that the range of these bats might be expanding as a result of changes in climate."
The CDC also urges the public to avoid vampire bats and get vaccinated for rabies.