A six-year-old Sioux City, boy was treated for rabies after he was bitten by a rabid bat, health officials said.
The boy was bitten in his home last week and was treated immediately, said Chuck Cipperley, director of environmental services at the Siouxland District Health Department.
The bat was captured and brought to the health department. It was tested in Iowa City and found to be rabid, Cipperley said.
While the cases of human rabies is low, it can be deadly if not treated, Cipperley said.
A 20-year-old Cedar Rapids man died from rabies encephalitis in Sept. 2002 and DNA tests on the strain of rabies linked to Buckley's death matched the kind most often carried by silver-haired bats, state health officials said. It was the first case of human rabies in Iowa in 50 years.
"It affects the brain," Cipperley said. "The bad thing is when they start showing symptoms ... it's fatal. We want to get on the preventive side."
With cooler temperatures, residents should be careful about bats hibernating in their homes.
"It takes a very small opening for bats to get in," he said. "It's a good time to look at your house and get some of those holes plugged up."
He also said pet owners should make sure their pets are vaccinated against the disease.