The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed that a Charlottesville woman died from rabies in 2017.
A report from the CDC on Friday discussed the woman’s exposure to the virus in India and the treatment she received. It also cautioned travelers to get the rabies vaccine before trips abroad.
According to the report, the 65-year-old woman was bitten on the hand by a dog on a yoga retreat in India. Six weeks later, she began experiencing pain in her right arm. She made several hospital trips in the United States as her symptoms worsened, and eventually was admitted to a hospital.
Rabies infects the central nervous system, and the report details the woman’s agitation, lack of coordination and chest pain. As her symptoms worsened, hospital staff tested her for rabies. The test was positive and they learned that she had never been vaccinated against the virus.
An experimental treatment for rabies failed and the woman died on May 21, 2017, nearly two weeks after she was admitted to the hospital.
According to the report, 72 health care providers were exposed to the virus during the woman’s treatment. Their treatment cost $235,000.
The report did not identify the woman.
“These events underscore the importance of obtaining a thorough pretravel health consultation, particularly when visiting countries with high incidence of emerging or zoonotic pathogens, to ensure awareness of health risks and appropriate pretravel and postexposure health care actions,” the report stated.