August 18, 2014
A friend of mine told me that a man had been bitten by a rabid bat not far from where she lives in Lee’s Summit. I was incredulous at first, but I looked it up online. Apparently, three bats have tested positive for rabies since June in Lee’s Summit. This caught my attention because I recently finished a book called Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus.
The book details the myths that surrounded rabies, including how it may have spawned vampire and werewolf legends. For centuries, there was a lot of misinformation about rabies, how it spreads, and how to treat it. Louis Pasteur’s work to discover a vaccine for rabies is also chronicled. Rabies has been depicted in many books and movies as well, including Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes were Watching God, Stephen King’s Cujo, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and the children’s classic Old Yeller to name a few. Rabid was more of a page turner than I would’ve imagined given the subject matter.
Blue Springs North Branch