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New Hampshire Man Bitten by Bat That Was Hiding in His iPad Case

By Zachary Stieber

A New Hampshire man was bitten by a rabid bat that was hiding in his iPad case.

Roy Syvertson, 86, said he grabbed the device and went to sit down on May 23 when he was bitten.

“I always do the same thing: I just open it up like that and flip it around, and then usually put it in between my legs like that,” Syvertson told WMUR. About an hour later, he felt something on one of his fingers.

“It felt like a little bee sting. And I looked, and the bat was coming out of here, between the cover and the back of the pad,” he said. “And then I got up, still squeezing it, which I’m sure he wasn’t happy about, and I took him outside. When I got up in the morning, he was still there, and I thought he was all right.”

The bat was dead later that night and officials responded to his call. The bat was tested and was rabid.

Syvertson said he was treated at the hospital but wanted to tell his story to warn others about rabies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies is 100 percent preventable but only with prompt medical care. If treatment is not administered in a timely manner, victims can die.

“The most important global source of rabies in humans is from uncontrolled rabies in dogs. Children are often at greatest risk from rabies. They are more likely to be bitten by dogs and are also more likely to be severely exposed through multiple bites in high-risk sites on the body. Severe exposures make it more difficult to prevent rabies unless access to good medical care is immediately available,” it stated.

A Utah man was bitten by a bat last year and died in November, his family said. Relatives said bats lived in their house but that they didn’t know the bats were rabid.

“The bats never hurt us, and we were always catching them in our hands and releasing them outside because you hear all the time about how bats are good for the insect population, and you don’t want to hurt them,” Juanita Giles, wife of victim Gary Files, told Deseret News.

tourist dies from rabies
Birgitte Kallestad in a 2016 file photo. (Birgitte Kallestad/Facebook)

Tourist, 24, Dies From Rabies

A 24-year-old woman who traveled to the Philippines on vacation died after contracting rabies from a stray dog, her family said.

Birgitte Kallestad of Norway went with her friends to the country in February. While riding mopeds one day, they found a puppy on the side of the road.

Kallestad picked up the puppy, placed it in the basket on her moped, and took it back to the resort at which they were staying, her family said in a statement obtained by the Daily Mail.

She washed and groomed the dog. She and her friends then played with it in a garden at the resort.

Everyone sustained minor bites and scratches from the dog while interacting with it, the woman’s family said. Kallestad, a health worker, cleaned her wounds herself.

She began feeling symptoms after returning to Norway but doctors struggled to diagnose the disease as she didn’t think of her interactions with the dog.

A doctor eventually made the correct diagnosis but it was too late.

Her family said that rabies should be added to the list of vaccines required to travel to the Philippines.

“Our dear Birgitte loved animals. Our fear is that this will happen to others who have a warm heart like her. We want this vaccine to be included in the program for places where it can be rabies, and that people become aware of the dangers,” the family stated.

“‘If we manage to achieve this, the death of our sunbeam can save others.”