Just about a month after it was reported that a nine-year-old Costa Rican boy died from rabies after getting bit by a squirrel, the Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday that an 11-year-old Nicaraguan girl has become the second rabies death in the country this year.

Red fox Image/Laubenstein Ronald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Red fox
Image/Laubenstein Ronald, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

According to Dr. Teresita Solano of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiological Surveillance Unit, the girl contracted the lethal virus in Nicaragua from a fox bite approximately one year ago.

Dr. Solano said the incubation period for rabies is usually eight to ten weeks, but in rare cases can last more than twelve months (in one case, researchers report on a case in India where the incubation was 25 years!).

Solano says that in both cases, their lives could have been saved if the parents had sought medical attention immediately.

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page