On Oct. 4, 1994, a Wirt County man, 41, entered a local hospital after spending the day shaking. He had speech difficulties, was unwilling to drink liquids, had been vomiting and had severe anxiety.
Tests were taken. He had a good memory but a short attention span, and he became extremely agitated when people tried to examine him.
"Preliminary diagnosis was acute psychotic reaction associated with use of ethanol or marijuana or ingestion of other drugs," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later reported.
The man refused treatment and left.
That evening he was examined at a regional hospital with extreme agitation and muscle tremors. This time he was admitted for apparent encephalopathy.
"Efforts to control spastic movements included treatment with valium, librium, ativan, phenobarbital, and morphine," the CDC reported. "Because of frequent expectoration of frothy saliva from the mouth, he was placed in isolation."
On Oct. 15, the man died. It turned out that during the summer, he and two friends had killed a red bat on his front porch. He had opened its mouth and felt the teeth.
Human rabies is rare. His was the first reported case in the state in 15 years.