But the disease is deadly. Following the man's death, 48 people had to have rabies shots, the CDC said: "15 medical technicians, 12 registered nurses, four physicians, two licensed practical nurses, one LPN student, one physician assistant, one housekeeper, one secretary, and 11 family members and friends."
That one case endangered 48 people.
His was the 21st case of human rabies nationwide between 1980 and 1994. Those cases resulted in rabies shots for 880 other people at a cost of $900,000.
Rabies is a threat in West Virginia because the state is so wonderfully wild. In the first three months of this year, 142 animals were tested and 14 tested positive.
Obviously, West Virginians have to be careful about handling wildlife. But they should also be vigilant about vaccinating their domestic animals.
Minimizing the public health risk from rabies is everybody's responsibility.