Man Who Died From Rabies Identified As Moroni Resident

Nov 8, 2018, 2:04 PM

MORONI, Utah – A Utah man died after being exposed to rabies — the first human death from rabies in the state since 1944, according to the Utah Department of Health.

A Moroni woman said it was her husband.

Juanita Giles said her husband, Gary, 55, died Sunday. She said he was suffering for about three weeks, starting with back and neck aches. The symptoms worsened from there.

The couple went from hospital to hospital and doctor to doctor, Giles said. No one could diagnose the issue.

UDOH epidemiologist Dallin Peterson said the department suspects an infected bat is to blame.

“Here in Utah we do have migratory bats, but we also have bats that hibernate,” he said. “Sometimes they will find crevices in the home. Last year we had them inside of some of our schools.”

Giles said she and her husband have been dealing with bats in their home all summer.

“The bats never hurt us, and we were always catching them with our hands and releasing them outside,” she said. “You hear all the time about how good the bats are for our insect population and the mosquitoes, and you don’t want to hurt them.”

She said she wants to share what she’s learned so no one else has to suffer.

“We would wake up in the night and they would be walking on our bed,” she said. “Even the bat specialist that was just here says you could be bitten by a bat or scratched by a bat and not even feel it because it’s so minute.”

“They would lick our fingers,” she added. “According to what the doctors in the health department told me, their saliva carries rabies.”

Peterson said the biggest takeaway is to simply not touch bats.

“If you do find bats in your home or wake up with bats in your room, contact an animal professional to come get those bats out of your home,” he said.

A GoFundMe* page has been set up to help the Giles family with medical and funeral costs.

The Utah Department of Health released a list of tips to help others avoid the same tragedy as the Giles family.

The UDOH urges all Utahns to ensure their pets’ rabies vaccines are up-to-date. Utah law requires all domestic dogs, cats and ferrets to have rabies vaccinations. Pet owners are encouraged to check with their veterinarian for more information.

In addition to vaccinating your pets, following these guidelines can help reduce your risk for getting rabies.

• Never touch a bat. Keep bats out of your home. Seal any cracks and gaps where bats can enter.
• Keep pets inside and supervise them when outside. This will help keep pets from coming in contact with wild animals.
• Report stray animals to local authorities. Call local animal control officials to report stray dogs and cats.
• Don’t approach wild animals. Wild animals with rabies may seem unafraid of people. It’s not normal for a wild animal to be friendly with people, so stay away from any animal that seems unafraid. If you see a wild animal acting strangely, report it to animal control.
• In domestic animals, signs of rabies may include behavior changes, general sickness, trouble swallowing, an increase in drool or saliva, and biting at everything, if excited.
• Consider rabies pre-exposure vaccine if traveling out of the country. If traveling to a country where rabies is common and you’ll be there for an extended period of time, ask your doctor whether you should receive the rabies vaccine before you travel.
• Take action if you are bitten. If you are bitten by any animal (domestic or wild), immediately wash the wound well with soap and water and see a health care provider.

*KSLTV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


A homeless-family crisis is emerging in Utah before the winter of 2022. (Lauren Steinbrecher/KSL TV...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Homeless families in Utah reaching ‘crisis,’ as advocates push for solutions

A crisis is emerging over an increase in homeless families in Utah. A local organization and a lawmaker are hope leaders can come together to find solutions before winter sets in.
20 hours ago
Matt Jolley of Jolley’s Pharmacy filling prescriptions. (KSL TV)...
Michael Locklear

Utahns are having trouble finding Adderall as manufacturers report shortages

Utah pharmacies are having a hard time keeping Adderall in stock, leaving patients without or waiting for their prescriptions. 
20 hours ago
The thousand-year-old manuscript has been returned to its home at the Kosinitza Monastery in Drama,...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

Stolen in 1917, this 1,000-year-old manuscript was just returned to its rightful owners

A 1,000-year-old manuscript looted during World War I has been returned to the Greek monastery from where it was stolen more than a century ago.
5 days ago
A dip in suicide rates in 2019 continued into 2020, but the CDC report, released on September 30, s...
Deidre McPhillips, CNN

US suicide rates rose in 2021, reversing two years of decline

A dip in suicide rates in 2019 continued into 2020, but a CDC report released on Sept. 30 shows that 2021 reversed most of that improvement and brought rates back to near-record levels.
6 days ago
Bry Hansen visits his son's grave in South Jordan. (Tanner Siegworth/KSL TV)...
Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

The number of Utah kids and teens dying by gunfire hit a record high in 2020

The state hit a devastating milestone in 2020, recording the highest-ever number of shooting deaths among Utahns 18 and younger.
6 days ago
Harmoni Memmott went through seven months of chemotherapy at Primary Children's Hospital to beat a ...
Ayanna Likens

2-year-old beats cancer after receiving care at Primary Children’s Hospital

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and one 2-year-old in Tooele battled cancer and beat it after treatment at Primary Children's Hospital.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
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: Ask these questions 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.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Man Who Died From Rabies Identified As Moroni Resident