If you follow the news then you’ve heard ALL about this since everyone is going crazy over it – even vampire sites. The big bad news is that over 500 people have been bitten by rabid vampire bats in the Peruvian Amazon. My scientific theory for this sudden increase in attacks is that the bats feel like they need to make vampires scary and badass again. Twilight totally ruined their street cred.
Ok ok, seriously though, according to the BBC, “four children in the Awajun indigenous tribe died after being bitten by the bloodsucking mammals. Health workers have given rabies vaccine to more than 500 people who have also been attacked.”
When untreated, rabies is almost always fatal. In humans the virus symptoms begin with irritability, headache, pain, itching or a twitching at the infection site and fever. As the disease advances, muscle spasms in the throat and respiratory tract affect breathing and the sufferer may have difficulty swallowing. Eventually the symptoms get even worse and the sufferer has hallucinations, convulsions, seizures, paralysis, and then death.
Despite what books and movies tell us, vampire bats usually feed on the blood of wildlife and cattle. That might be changing though, this is not the first time they have turned on humans in recent years, a phenomenon some attribute to deforestation.
If you look back a few years, more than 300 people were bitten and 13 died in Brazil in 2004. Then a year later, again in Brazil, vampire bats killed 23 people and attacked more than 1300.
Experts say that bats infected with rabies are more likely to attack humans since rabies completely alters how an animal behaves. Also, cutting down trees forces bats from their natural habitat, and closer to humans. Then the replacement of trees with cattle provides a rich food source for the bats, which increases their numbers.