Taiwan reports first imported case of rabies of 2013 in Filipino worker
A Filipino migrant worker is the first case of human rabies to reported in 2013, according to an alert from the Taiwnese Centers for Disease Contol(CDC) on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Filipino man apparently received a dog bite on March 10 and never sought out rabies prophylaxis. He arrived in Taiwan in early April and starting experiencing early symptoms of rabies last week.
The physician at the hospital noticed the healing dog bite on the patients fingers and the family confirmed the animal bite.
The patient has been hospitalized in a quarantine ward because rabies is a category 1 notifiable communicable disease. His condition is deteriorating rapidly and he is now suffering from multiple organ failure, the centers reported.
Rabies is an acute viral infection that is transmitted to humans or other mammals usually through the saliva from a bite of an infected animal. It is also rarely contracted through breaks in the skin or contact with mucous membranes. It has been suggested that airborne transmission is possible in caves where there are heavy concentrations of bats.
According to the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, all mammals are susceptible to rabies. Raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, dogs, coyotes and cats are the likely suspects. Other animals like otters and ferrets are also high risk. Mammals like rabbits, squirrels, rodents and opossums are rarely infected.
Rabies infected animals can appear very aggressive, attacking for no reason. Some may act very tame. They may look like they are foaming at the mouth or drooling because they cannot swallow their saliva. Sometimes the animal may stagger (this can also be seen in distemper). Not long after this point they will die. Most animals can transmit rabies days before showing symptoms.
Initially, like in many diseases, the symptoms of rabies are non-specific; fever, headache and malaise. This may last several days. At the site of the bite, there may be some pain and discomfort. Symptoms then progress to more severe: confusion, delirium, abnormal behavior and hallucinations. If it gets this far, the disease is nearly 100% fatal.
Worldwide it is estimated that there are more than 55,000 deaths due to rabies annually with most cases reported from Africa, Asia, including China and India, Latin America and the Middle East.
The Philippines reports several hundred human rabies cases annually.
Human rabies is prevented by administration of rabies vaccine and rabies immune globulin.
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