At least two dozen people from a single family have been hospitalized in Kurram Tribal Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan after drinking milk from a cow which was recently bitten by a rabid dog, according to a local media account.

Image/Alex Ex
Image/Alex Ex

It is reported that the condition of all 24 family members worsened and most alarming, no rabies vaccine is available despite denials of such claim by Pakistan politicians.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), human cases due to non-bite exposures to rabies are very rare. Scratches, abrasions, open wounds, and mucous membranes contaminated with saliva or other potentially infectious material (such as brain tissue) from a rabid animal constitute non-bite exposures. Inhalation of aerosolized rabies virus is also a potential non-bite route of exposure, but other than laboratory workers, most people are unlikely to encounter aerosolized rabies virus.

There are no published studies that have demonstrated the presence of rabies virus in cows’ milk. Although transmission of rabies virus from consuming unpasteurized milk from an infected animal is theoretically possible, no human has ever been reported to develop rabies via this route. Milk that has been heat pasteurized presents no risk for rabies virus transmission.