The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing a warning about the risks of rabies from bats after three people, including a child, have died in the United States.
In a press release, the CDC said the people died from rabies over five weeks between late September and early November 2021 after coming into direct contact with bats in or around their homes.
The agency said the cases occurred in Idaho, Illinois, and Texas.
According to the CDC, two cases were considered avoidable exposures after one was attributed to a bat roost in the home and the other after the patient picked up the bat with their bare hands.
The bats were released and not captured for testing, the agency said.
The CDC said none of the victims received post-exposure prophylaxis shots, which prevent rabies from developing.
The agency said that the total number of rabies cases in 2021 was five, compared to zero reported rabies cases in people during 2019 and 2020.
The names and ages of those who died have not been released.