The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) confirmed Friday that a person has tested positive for rabies. The Virginia resident was bitten by a dog while traveling in India.
The only documented cases of human-to-human transmission of rabies have been via organ transplant, but out of an abundance of caution, the VDH is assessing those who had direct contact with this person to see if there is any concern that they may have been exposed to rabies.
The VDH is working with officials to determine where the patient sought care and to assess any healthcare worker who potentially may have been exposed to rabies virus due to contact with this patient. The VDH is also working to identify any family members and close contacts who may have been exposed to rabies virus due to contact with this person.
No additional information about the individual will be released to protect their privacy.
Human rabies cases in the United States are rare, with only one to three cases reported annually. Twenty-eight cases of human rabies have been diagnosed in the United States since 2006, eight of which were infected outside the United States and its territories. The last time the VDH reported a human rabies case was in 2009. That person had also traveled to India and was bitten by a dog while there.
The VDH added those traveling internationally should check with their healthcare providers about vaccinations or other health precautions that are recommended prior to departure. A comprehensive resource for travel health recommendations, for healthcare providers and travelers, is available by clicking here.
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