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Mass. Health Officials Confirm First Human Rabies Case in 75 Years

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts public health officials say Barnstable County man appears to be the first human to contract rabies in the state in 75 years.

The man, believed to be in his 60s, is in critical condition at a hospital. His name and hometown were not released.

The Department of Public Health said Friday that it was not certain how the man was infected, but he may have been exposed to a rabid bat in his home.

Human rabies cases are extremely rare, though almost always fatal if victims do not receive preventative treatment in time.

The last confirmed case of rabies that was contracted in Massachusetts was in 1935.

In 1983, a Waltham man died at a Massachusetts hospital after being exposed to rabies, apparently from a dog bite while in Africa.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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