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Rabid fox bites and human rabies in a village community in southern India: epidemiological and laboratory investigations, management and follow-up

, : Rabid fox bites and human rabies in a village community in southern India: epidemiological and laboratory investigations, management and follow-up. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases 13(5): 324-329

Human rabies transmitted from wild animals is rarely reported in endemic countries like India, where nearly 95% deaths occur due to bites from rabid dogs. In this paper, we report an incidence of rabid fox bites in a village in southern part of India involving 18 individuals, including 4 children. All people had category III exposures, including bites on the face and neck. The attacking fox was killed by the forest department and buried immediately. The victims of the fox bite did not receive appropriate and adequate postexposure treatment. Thirteen days after the bite, one of the bite victims developed typical symptoms of furious rabies and died 2 days later in a local hospital. His brain tissue, obtained at autopsy, was strongly positive for rabies by fluorescent antibody technique (FAT) and virus isolation. Panic prevailed in the community and the rest of the 17 cases were referred to our institute for advice and further management. Only 35% of them had protective levels of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (RVNA). All of the patients were administered with an 8-site intradermal regimen with purified chick embryo cell (PCEC) vaccine and were followed up regularly. All of them developed adequate titers (>0.5 IU/mL) of RVNA 7 days later. They were under regular follow-up and after nearly 2 years none have developed rabies. The partial Nucleoprotein (N) gene sequencing of the virus isolate from the patient who died of rabies had close homology with species I (prototype rabies) sequences available in GenBank and our own past isolates from dogs and humans, thus confirming that virus spillover from wildlife to domestic dogs continues to occur. This episode should prompt health authorities to focus more attention on training rural medical practitioners in state-of-the-art modern prophylactic measures.


PMID: 23473223

DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2012.1146

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