Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Rabid Mongooses!

The Puerto Rico Department of Health reported a case of human death due to rabies infection. The person infected had been bitten by a mongoose a month before they were hospitalized. The USDA has found that about 40% of mongooses in Puerto Rico were positive for rabies.

Two Epidemic Investigation officers from the Pox and Rabies Team of the CDC, Ashley Styczynski and Cuc Tran, traveled to Puerto Rico to interview people who may have come into contact with the diseased person when they were still contagious. They identified 2 healthcare workers and 7 community members that had contact with the patient and needed post-exposure prophylaxis. They also found that the people in the deceased patient's community were not worried about mongoose bites and potential infection, as they eat mongoose and did not associate it with rabies. 

The recommended next steps included preventive education about routinely vaccinating their pets, seeking health care after a animal bite, and putting out warnings about mongoose bites. USDA has also begun to plan a oral rabies vaccine bait for mongooses in Puerto Rico.

Richa Wadekar

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