A 6-year-old Florida boy who contracted rabies from an infected bat has died, his father announced Monday.
Today reported that Ryker Roque died Sunday in an Orlando-area hospital, despite undergoing an experimental treatment in a final bid to save his life.
The boy’s father, Henry Roque, said he found the sick bat, placed it in a bucket, and told his son not to touch it. Despite his instructions, Henry told NBC News that his son came into contact with the bat and was scratched.
“So, apparently he put his hand in there and touched it and he said it only scratched him, so I frantically googled it real quick and it says to wash his hands with soap, hot water for five minutes,” the father told the network.
Henry acknowledged that it was a mistake to have waited a week to seek medical attention. However, he explained that they didn’t immediately take Ryker to the hospital because he cried at the thought of getting shots.
However, a week later, he was rushed to the hospital after experiencing numbness in his fingers and a headache.
“They [hospital staff] went frantically looking for the other doctors to tell them that it was a bat and how severe it was. And then they all came in. We had a conference and they explained to me that it’s almost always lethal,” Henry said.
Ryker reportedly underwent the Milwaukee protocol, an experimental medical technique which entails sedating the patient and administering antiviral drugs. The treatment has reportedly saved two other children in the U.S. and 18 people worldwide.
Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms develop, as it indicates that the virus has spread to the central nervous system. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that rabies is a “vaccine-preventable disease,” meaning that immediate treatment, or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), is successful at stopping the onset of symptoms that precede death.
[Featured Image: Ryker Roque/GoFundMe]