Virginia Has It’s First Rabies Scare Since ’08

On Friday, May 12, the Department of Health in the state of Virginia verified that one of their residents contracted rabies. The name of the resident has not been released due to patient privacy.

With only three reports yearly, it’s very rare for someone to have the disease within the United States. Health officials say that if someone does contract the infection, surviving it is not an easy task.

What Constitutes As Rabies?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a viral infection from being bit by an animal that is rabid like raccoons, skunks, and bats.

When infected, the virus heads straight for the central nervous system. Early on symptoms include general weakness, head pain, and fevers. Over the next few days, the victim will struggle with agitation, hallucinations, an increase in saliva production, sleeplessness, anxiousness, and hydrophobia. After a few days, the first symptoms present themselves and the victim usually dies.

While in India, the resident from Central Virgina was bitten by a dog who was acting ravenous.

For precaution, the VDH and the CDC will work together to make sure no one else has been in close contact with them.

In a statement by the VDH, though human-to-human contact has only been transmitted through organ transplantation, just to be extra cautious, they will be assessing everyone who has come in direct contact with the patient to make sure they have not been exposed to the infection.

Since 2006, there have been approximately 28 cases of human rabies. The last time the virus made its rounds in Virgina was back in 2009. The person in question had also been in India when a dog bit them and gave them the infection.

Only 8 out of the 28 known cases of humans contracting rabies since 2006 happened while outside the United States. The others were in the U.S.

Even so, if you or someone you know are traveling outside the United States,

it’s best to check with your doctor to make sure you took all the vaccinations needed before your leave.