A 65-year-old woman is dead after getting rabies from an encounter with a puppy in India. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies vaccination programs in developing countries are not always successful.
Rabies Death From Puppy Bite
In a report, Virginia’s state public health veterinarian Dr. Julia Murphy and her colleagues describe the case of a woman who died after getting bitten by a puppy in India. Evidently, the woman was on a seven-week-long yoga retreat, and other tour members confirmed that she was bitten by a puppy outside the hotel. The wound was then washed with water, but the woman received no further treatment.
Her first symptoms began in her arm but she was only given painkillers for it. On May 7, 2017, about six weeks after the bite, she was admitted to the hospital with anxiety, insomnia, shortness of breath, and difficulty swallowing water. By the next day, she was reportedly agitated and combative, and was gasping for air when attempting to drink water.
It was then that doctors asked the family about any animal bites, and the patient’s husband confirmed that she was bitten by a puppy weeks prior to the symptom onset. The CDC confirmed rabies within days, and doctors even put her on a medically induced coma to try to save her. Unfortunately, she did not improve and died on May 21.
Hers was the ninth death in the United States from rabies gotten overseas.
Rabies Information For Travelers
In the United States, rabies vaccine programs have been largely successful, which is why rabies in dogs has been eliminated in the country. However, the same cannot be said for other parts of the world such as in Asia, Central and South America, and Africa, where rabies remains to be a public health concern. In these areas, tens of thousands still die each year from rabies.
As such, the CDC recommends anyone who might be traveling to countries where rabies is still prevalent to not approach any wild or domestic animal, and to get a precautionary pre-exposure rabies vaccination. It would also be helpful to talk to local or state health departments before the set travel dates to discuss rabies exposure risks and how to handle them just in case.