Health officials in the Cusco region in southeastern Peru have reported dozens of suspected human rabies cases in individuals in La Convención province, according to a Publimetro report (computer translated).
Eighty-five people are suspected of having contracted wild rabies after being bitten by bats in the various Amazonian localities of Camana, Mayapo, Puerto Huallana and Alto Pichas.
Regional director of Health of Cusco, Julio César Espinosa La Torre said that among the group of victims with a bat bite are the 15 soldiers transferred to Lima, of this group, two cases were confirmed, of which one is deceased.
Espinoza la Torre said that to date, more than 912 civilians and 680 soldiers have been vaccinated in Alto and Bajo Urubamba, in the district of Megantoni, who must receive up to four doses, every 7 and 14 days.
We have had meetings with the heads of the communities in the zones to make them understand that there are cases in which they should effectively be vaccinated, people who have a bite because it would bring them a complication. It is about sensitizing them and showing them the complication they can have, “he concluded.
LISTEN: Rabies: A comprehensive interview with Pamela Wilson
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 69,000 deaths due to rabies annually.
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