HEALTH

First Utahn Dies From Rabies Since 1944

Nov 8, 2018, 10:03 AM | Updated: 12:13 pm
The Utah Department of Health said residents and animals are most likely to be exposed to rabies fr...
The Utah Department of Health said residents and animals are most likely to be exposed to rabies from a bat. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah man has died after being exposed to rabies.

Gary Giles, 55, of Moroni, died Sunday after struggling with a slowly-progressing disease.

Utah public health officials confirmed the case, and they suspect the person was infected by a bat. It’s the first time a Utahn has died from rabies since 1944.

Gary Giles’ wife, Juanita, said the couple would capture bats in their home and release them outside. She said they didn’t want to hurt the bats because they control the insect population.

Officials with the Department of Health said people and animals in Utah are most likely to come into contact with rabies through exposure to bats. They note bat bites or scratches can be so small that the injured person may not see or feel them.

People who have had potential contact with a bat should contact their doctors as soon as possible. There is prevention treatment available, but once symptoms begin, it’s almost always fatal, according to the UDOH.

“Every year, an estimated 40,000 people nationwide receive a rabies prevention treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) after a bite or scratch from a domestic animal, such as dogs or cats, with unknown vaccination status,” according the media release. “Not all animal exposures require PEP.”

The UDOH urges Utah residents to vaccinate their pets, and supervise them when they’re outside to help keep them from coming in contact with wild animals.

They also suggest reporting stray animals to local authorities, and advise against approaching wild animals.

Most importantly, never touch a bat.

“If you find yourself near a bat, dead or alive, do not touch, hit, or kill it,” said Dallin Peterson, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health. “Call your health care provider or local public health department immediately to report the possible exposure and determine whether preventive treatment is necessary.”

For more information on rabies, call the Utah Department of Health at 801-538-6191 or visit health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/rabies.

KSL Newsradio’s Peter Samore’s and Deseret News’s Wnedy Leonard’s reporting contributed to this story.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Health

...
Ayanna Likens

Tips to set realistic mental health goals

If you are planning on setting a goal to prioritize your mental health this year, Dr. Kristin Francis at Huntsman Mental Health Institute recommends starting with small goals.
1 day ago
An apparent shortage of pharmacists is forcing CVS and Walmart to reduce the hours of its pharmacie...
Jordan Valinsky

CVS and Walmart cut pharmacy hours, close some locations earlier, citing staffing shortage

An apparent shortage of pharmacists is forcing CVS and Walmart to reduce the hours of its pharmacies, as they close earlier in thousands of locations.
1 day ago
A Yanomami youth carries a toddler on his shoulders at the Saude Indigenous House, a center respons...
Eleoneore Hughes and Edmar Barros, Associated Press

Why Brazil’s Yanomami are being decimated by disease, mining

Severe malnutrition and disease, particularly malaria, are decimating the Yanomami population in Brazil's Amazon rainforest, and on Jan. 20 the federal government declared a public health emergency.
1 day ago
FILE: The Utah State Legislature...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV, & Aimee Cobabe, KSLNewsradio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

A bill on transgender healthcare - banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors passed in the Utah House Thursday after last-minute changes.
1 day ago
A photo of the U.S. Magnesium refinery in Tooele County on Jan. 27, 2017. The plumes from the plant...
Carter Williams, KSL.com and Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

What’s behind northern Utah’s ‘brown clouds’? New study pinpoints a major source

A magnesium plant located near the Great Salt Lake is a major producer of chemical elements behind the "dense winter brown clouds" that sometimes hang over Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah's northern half in the winter, a new federal study determines.
1 day ago
Mike Hayes says he noticed changes when he started intermittent fasting...
Ayanna Likens

The health benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular and health experts say there are some benefits to it.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
First Utahn Dies From Rabies Since 1944