Health officials in Virginia say that they are investigating a confirmed human case of rabies. In the interest of patient privacy they are not, of course, giving out any personal details about the patient. They will say only that the person was bitten by a dog while in India.
Virginia Health Department says that it is meeting with people who had direct contact with the patient, including healthcare workers who treated the patient before the rabies diagnosis, but say that the risk of transmission is incredibly small.
This is Virginia’s second case of rabies in a human since 2009. In that case, the patient was also bitten by a dog while traveling to India.
Human Rabies In India
Worldwide, it is impossible, says the Centers for Disease Control, to estimate just how many people die of rabies each year, although the World Health Organization, or WHO, estimates that 36% of human rabies deaths occur in India. As many as 60% of those deaths are children.
Good numbers for developing nations are hard to come by due to underreporting but 99% of human rabies worldwide are believed to result from rabid dog bites.
Human Rabies in the U.S.
In the U.S., by contrast, human rabies cases are virtually unheard of, with only 1 to 3 cases reported nationwide each year. And in at least 8 of the 28 known cases confirmed in the U.S. since 2009, the patient actually became infected outside the country.