Sunday, June 30, 2013

Texas: Guatemalan man, detained by Immigration, dies from rabies

A Guatemalan man being held in custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since a month ago, has died from rabies, believed to be contracted prior to crossing the border,according to an ICE press release June 12.

According to immigration officials, the timeline of events related to 28-year-old Federico Mendez-Hernandez is as follows:
Mendez-Hernandez was taken into custody on May 9 by US Border Control on the Rio Grande and custody was transferred to on May 12. At the time he was captured, he showed no signs or symptoms of illness.
Approximately nine days after being apprehended, Mendez-Hernandez began to show some symptoms consistent with rabies and was ultimately taken to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi.
Last Friday, laboratory analysis performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Mendez-Hernandez had rabies.
It is unclear exactly how, when or where he contracted the lethal viral disease, information acquired via laboratory testing reveals he had a canine rabies virus variant common in Central America.

Federal and Texas health officials are interviewing people with contact with Mendez-Hernandez to determine rabies risk, such as contact with bodily fluid like saliva and tears to determine the need for post exposure rabies prophylaxis, despite there never being a confirmed person-to-person transmission of rabies.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Rabies is a zoonotic disease (a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans) that is caused by a virus. It is known to be present on all continents except Antarctica and infects domestic and wild animals.
Rabies is spread to people through close contact with infected saliva via bites or scratches. The main route of rabies transmission to humans is the bite of rabid dogs. Most of the deaths occur in the absence of post-exposure prophylaxis. Rabies is nearly always fatal when left untreated.
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  2. As you wouldn't travel in certain areas of big US cities at night, that is the same for guatemala. Keep aware of your surroundings. Try to blend in. Don't flash lots of cash. Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas like markets.

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