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6-year-old boy dies of rabies contracted from a bat

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ORLANDO, Fla. — A 6-year-old Florida boy has died from rabies he contracted after being scratched by an infected bat.

The father of Ryker Roque told NBC that the boy died Sunday at an Orlando hospital.

Father Henry Roque said he had found a sick bat, put it in a bucket and told his son not to touch it, but he did and was scratched.

He said he washed the wound thoroughly but didn’t take the boy to the hospital because he cried when he was told he would get shots. About a week later the boy developed numb fingers and a headache and his parents took him for hospital treatment.

Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms develop. A vaccine given after a wound but before symptoms almost always prevents the disease.

Early rabies symptoms  are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the disease progresses, people may develop insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing and hydrophobia (fear of water). Victims usually die within days of the onset of these symptoms.