TRAVEL WARNING: Canadian tourist got rabies in Dominican Republic

TRAVEL WARNING / TRAVEL ILLNESS - Toronto Public Health confirmed Tuesday that a local resident who was recently in the Dominican Republic has contracted a case of rabies.


For privacy reasons, the health department said it could not release any information about the person, but CBC News reported a 41-year-old man is being treated for rabies and that it is the first such case in Toronto in more than eight decades.

CBC said he had been working as a bartender in the Dominican Republic and that he had been treated there, but came back to Canada when his condition worsened.

"The source of the exposure is currently under investigation," the health department said.

Dr. Dick Zoutman, professor of microbiology and infectious diseases at Queen's University, says North Americans typically fear getting rabies from dogs or cats, even though it is unlikely because a vast majority are vaccinated.

"In the developing world — I don't have specific statistics on the Dominican Republic but I think it's generalizable — the dogs would actually be the most common cause," he said.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, there were 26 cases of human rabies in the province from 1925 until early this year, five of which were caused by infected bats.

Toronto Public Health said it is awaiting lab results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on the strain of rabies before it can determine the place of exposure.

"Rabies is one of the most feared infections in almost all of medical history, because really, it's generally always fatal," Zoutman said.

Rabies is a contagious and viral disease that affects the brain and eventually the central nervous system if left untreated.

It is transmissible through saliva, often from animal bites. It can lead to death in serious cases.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there is a vaccine that can be given after a bite but there is no effective treatment for anyone already showing symptoms of the disease.

Despite the high death risk, Zoutman notes there have been cases in recent years where people have survived.

Before going to the DR, read this!! Dengue, cholera, leptospirosis and malaria highest in two years

Dengue 1,587 cases - 43 deaths, Cholera 19,116 cases - 142 deaths, Rabies 19,559 cases - 3 deaths, Leptospirosisa, disease caused by rat urine in food ingested by humans, 638 cases - 14 the Dominican Republic...!!


Dominican Watchdog Note | And this is only the reported numbers!! The government tried to hide the truth about cholera in Casa de Campo - Cholera Reaches New York from Casa de Campo wedding

Go back | Date: 18 Apr 2012
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