Human Rabies — Virginia, 2017

Julia Murphy, DVM; Costi D. Sifri, MD; Rhonda Pruitt; Marcia Hornberger; Denise Bonds; Jesse Blanton, DrPH; James Ellison, PhD; R. Elaine Cagnina; Kyle B. Enfield; Miriam Shiferaw, MD; Crystal Gigante, PhD; Edgar Condori; Karen Gruszynski, PhD; Ryan M. Wallace, DVM


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019;67(5152):1410-1414. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


On May 9, 2017, the Virginia Department of Health was notified regarding a patient with suspected rabies. The patient had sustained a dog bite 6 weeks before symptom onset while traveling in India. On May 11, CDC confirmed that the patient was infected with a rabies virus that circulates in dogs in India. Despite aggressive treatment, the patient died, becoming the ninth person exposed to rabies abroad who has died from rabies in the United States since 2008. A total of 250 health care workers were assessed for exposure to the patient, 72 (29%) of whom were advised to initiate postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). The total pharmaceutical cost for PEP (rabies immunoglobulin and rabies vaccine) was approximately $235,000. International travelers should consider a pretravel consultation with travel health specialists; rabies preexposure prophylaxis is warranted for travelers who will be in rabies endemic countries for long durations, in remote areas, or who plan activities that might put them at risk for a rabies exposures.