Official: Florida resident dies of rabies from bat bite

Uwe Schmidt / CC BY-SA 4.0 / MGN
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SEBRING, Fla. (AP) -- Health officials say a Florida resident who was bitten by a bat has died of rabies.

Florida Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri tells Orlando TV station WKMG the victim didn't seek treatment. She didn't identify the victim, who lived in Highlands County in southwest Florida, or say when the bite occurred or when the victim died.

She says it's important to avoid direct contact with wildlife.

Gambineri says it's important for bite victims to receive treatment as soon as possible, adding that untreated rabies can cause a nearly 100 percent fatal illness in humans.

Health officials say the main wildlife sources of rabies in Florida are raccoons and bats.