- A Virginia woman died of rabies after suffering a dog bite during a trip to India, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The woman was not vaccinated against rabies and did not seek medical treatment after the sting.
- Canine rabies was eliminated from the US in 2004, but still exists in 122 countries, according to the report.
- The CDC recommends that travelers stay away from animals while abroad, but if you are bitten, you should wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical advice for additional treatment as soon as possible.
- Some travelers may also benefit from anti-rabies vaccines before travel.
A Virginia woman died of rabies after suffering a dog bite during a trip to India in 2017. Now, her case was detailed in a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Daily Progress reported Friday.
According to the CDC report, the 65-year-old woman traveled to India for a yoga retreat from late January to early April 2017. She was bitten by a chick outside her hotel and washed the wound with water, but was no longer subjected to medical treatment. treatment.
In early May, the woman sought treatment for arm pain and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. The next day, she was evaluated in a hospital for lack of air, anxiety, insomnia and difficulty swallowing. She was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication.
But on May 8, the woman became "progressively agitated and combative," according to the report. That's when hospital officials asked about potential exposure to animals. The woman's husband told the doctors about the puppy's bite.
The woman's condition continued to deteriorate and tests confirmed that she was infected with rabies. On May 21, the family chose to "withdraw advanced medical support," the report said. The woman then died.
Canine rabies has been eliminated in the US, but it still exists worldwide
Anger is an avoidable viral disease that infects the nervous system. It is typically transmitted to people through infected animal bites – it spreads through saliva. When the symptoms appear, the disease is "almost always" fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Across the world, dogs account for the majority of human rabies deaths, the WHO adds, but rabies is preventable in dogs with vaccination.
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In fact, canine rabies was eliminated in the US in 2004, according to the case report, but still exists in 122 countries. And since 2008, nine people (including the Virginia woman) have died of rabies in the United States after being exposed to the virus while traveling abroad, the report added.
There are also human vaccines effective against rabies, and with "immediate and appropriate medical care," rabies in humans is also considered 100% preventable, according to the CDC.
The CDC says travelers should immediately wash and seek medical treatment for animal bites
In its advice to travelers, the CDC recommends avoiding animals and never trying to pet, feed or deal with unfamiliar animals. That's because the only way to prevent rabies (besides getting a vaccine) is to avoid pet stings, scratches and licking in the first place.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, wash the wound immediately with soap and water. and consult a physician as soon as possible for treatment, which includes the human rabies vaccine. This post-exposure treatment can prevent the development of symptoms of rabies and death, according to the WHO.
Every year, more than 15 million people get anti-rabies vaccines after animal bites, and are estimated to avoid hundreds of thousands of deaths, the organization adds.
Some travelers can benefit from anti-rabies vaccines before travel
A doctor may recommend that you receive a rabies vaccine before travel if you stay for too long in an area at high risk of rabies or if your trip involves outdoor activities that may expose you to animals, according to the CDC. Providers may also suggest the vaccine to people whose jobs may put them at risk while traveling, such as veterinarians, and for children who tend to play with animals.
The CDC case report concluded that Virginia's case – and other reports of rabies acquired during the trip – emphasize the importance of having a full health consultation before the trip with a physician.
Read more about animal safety for travelers on the CDC website.
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