JEFFERSON CITY — State health officials report Missouri's first human death from rabies in nearly a half-century.
The victim is identified only as a 55-year-old southern Missouri man who died Sunday, about six weeks after he was bitten by a bat.
In a statement Monday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services called it the state's first human rabies death since 1959. That one occurred in Pulaski County.
Officials say the latest victim was bitten on the left ear by a bat in mid-October and became ill with rabies symptoms Nov. 19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed last week that the man had a rabies virus associated with silver-haired and eastern pipistrelle bats.
Rabies isn't spread by casual human contact. But five people who might have had contact with the bat or the patient are receiving preventive treatment.