Bat Manners

If you ever wake up to find something dark and fluttery flying around your bedroom--
If you ever find that the dark and fluttery thing is shaped like a bat--
If you ever realize that the bat-shaped thing flying around your bedroom is A REAL, LIVE BAT--

DO  NOT, I repeat, DO NOT to try catch the bat. 

And please, please, DO NOT encourage your partner to try to catch the bat. In a pillowcase. While you run squealing out of the room.

Do not do any of these things. Trust me. I did them all, and what did I get? Rabies shots. Many, many rabies shots.
That is why a report that scientists may have landed on a one-dose rabies vaccine caught my eye this week. Today, if you happen to be exposed to rabies ("exposure" includes everything from being bitten by a rabid dog to waking up and finding a bat in your room), you'll need to make a trip to the ER for a dose of human rabies immune globulin, plus a rabies vaccine which will be administered again at set intervals over the next few weeks or months. It's time-consuming, uncomfortable, and expensive.

Of course, my brush with rabies was pretty benign, and only a handful of rabies deaths are reported in the United States each year. But around the world, an estimated 55,000 people die of rabies annually, mostly in Africa and Asia, where rabid dogs spread infection, often to children. A single-dose vaccine would make it more practical and less expensive to vaccinate the animals that carry and transmit the disease.

So far, the new vaccine has only been tested on mice, but it's a promising start against a disease that has been killing for thousands of years.

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