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The Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund and the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) report a case of human rabies.

Costa Rica /CIA
Costa Rica /CIA

The individual was bitten on August 15 when handling a bat while walking in the Canton of Dota. After the bite by a bat, he did not seek medical attention but proceeded to clean the wound.

After several weeks, he presented with pain in the left upper limb, then numbness in both hands, muscle weakness, general malaise symptoms, orientation disorders, as well as difficulty swallowing. At this point he sought medical attention.

He is currently hospitalized in intensive care on life support.

Rabies: What You Need to Know

From the moment the case was notified, coordination was made between the National Animal Health Service (SENASA) and the Ministry of Health for the processing of the samples, field research and vaccination of contacts; the coordination of the Ministry of Health and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) for the investigation of the case; identification of exposed persons, vaccination has been vital to give due follow-up.

“It is an isolated case”, said Dr. Daniel Salas, Director, Directorate of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Ministry of Health. “I have called on the population not to approach or provoke wild animals and in case of being bitten go immediately to the nearest health center.”

Rabies is an acute viral infection caused by a virus that mainly attacks the central nervous system, causing a progressive viral encephalomyelitis almost always fatal. Transmission is usually through saliva from the bite of an infected animal. It affects both humans and warm-blooded animals– dogs and cats, and wild animals such as bats, coyotes, wolves and foxes.

It is transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal, when the virus of saliva passes to the wound. There is also the possibility of transmission through direct contact of the saliva of the rabid animal with wounds or scratches on the skin of a person or animal.

Costa Rica rabies
Costa Rica rabies/Ministry of Health