A vet prepares a dose of rabies vaccine at an animal husbandry department in Banda Aceh on July 7, 2021. (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFP) (Photo by CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNN Spanish) --
(CNN Spanish) --
The Mexican health authorities confirmed this Tuesday that four people –– three minors and an adult woman–– present possible cases of rabies infection after suffering animal bites.
The Secretary of Health of Oaxaca, Alma Lilia Velasco Hernández, reported that the most recent case occurred "in the past few days" in three minors, two of whom are reported to be in "critical condition."
The Undersecretary of Health of Mexico, Hugo López-Gatell, assured at the presidential press conference on Tuesday that patients receive treatment "as if it were rabies", although laboratory confirmation of whether it is the disease or not is awaited. .
A common respiratory virus is spreading at unusually high levels, overwhelming children's hospitals.
This is what parents need to know
The official indicated that they are "two girls and a boy" of eight, seven and two years old, who were bitten by one or more bats in the municipality of San Lorenzo Texmelucan, about 100 kilometers from the capital city of Oaxaca, in the south. from the country.
He added that a possible fourth case of human rabies occurred in the state of Nayarit, in western Mexico, due to the bite of a "semi-domestic cat" on a 29-year-old woman, "who has a picture compatible with rabies."
He indicated that "the treatment and diagnostic protocols for these cases" are already being carried out.
The Nayarit government noted in a December 20 information card that the cat died "three days after (the attack) with signs compatible with the rabies virus."
He added that the patient was "hospitalized, serious, in isolation, under treatment and medical surveillance."
López-Gatell rejected that these cases of possible rabies merit the issuance of a "health alert."
He explained that rabies exists in the world in a large number of wild animals, and that it cannot be eliminated in them nor is it feasible to vaccinate them.
What is human rabies and how is it produced?
According to the Oaxaca Ministry of Health, human rabies "is a viral zoonosis that is transmitted through a deep bite or scratch from an infected animal."
Health authorities recommend avoiding touching or staying away from wild animals.
According to the research professor at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí Andreu Comas, among the animals that can acquire the virus, but do not get sick, are bats —of which there are three types: those that suck blood, those that they eat fruits and those that feed on insects.
"The virus can be carried by opossums, dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, raccoons and bats, and other wild animals," the expert explained to CNN.
"And then what happens in an extraordinary way, as in this case, the bat or bats had contact with humans and this infected them, unfortunately," warns Comas.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of human rabies are fever accompanied by pain, a tingling sensation, itching or itching in the wound area, dehydration, headache, general malaise, hyperactivity, hydrophobia (fear of water), and sometimes aerophobia. (fear of drafts), according to the Oaxaca Ministry of Health.
What happens to the body when it is infected with the virus?
The virus spreads through the central nervous system, generating progressive inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that can cause death to the infected person, according to the institution.
How atypical are human rabies cases in Mexico?
According to the report Specific Action Program for the Prevention and Control of Zoonotic and Emerging Diseases 2020-2024 of the Ministry of Health of Mexico, between 2010 and 2019 there were 13 deaths of people caused by rabies transmitted by wild animals, of which of which 10 correspond to bats —that is, bats— (76.9%), two per skunk (15.4%) and one per gray fox (7.7%).
In this report, the health authorities highlight that all the cases occurred in rural areas, and that the deceased or relatives of the infected victim were unaware that these species transmitted rabies, and that it caused death.
And he says that the deaths of these 13 people caused by rabies coincide in that the people did not go to request "immediate anti-rabies medical attention."
In the case of the three children hospitalized in Oaxaca for alleged rabies, the state health secretary, Alma Lilia Velasco Hernández, highlighted in her video message that "the girls and the infected minor live in a region with conditions of extreme marginality."