OAXACA, MEXICO.- One young boy has died of rabies in southern Mexico after a suspected bat bite, and a girl is critically ill with slim chances of survival, officials said.
The Health Department in the southern state of Oaxaca said the 7-year-old boy died Wednesday after being bitten by “a wild animal.” Initial reports said it was a bat, but that could not be confirmed.
An 8-year-old girl from the same remote mountain town was in critical condition, sedated and on a ventilator. Dr. Concepción Rocío Arias Cruz, the director of a hospital in the state capital, told the Milenio television station that there was little chance she would survive. But a 2-year-old girl has recovered.
She attributed the deaths to the fact the children were not given rapid treatment.
“They were bitten on Dec. 1, they delayed going to a clinic for treatment for 20 days,” Arias Cruz said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Once clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal, and treatment is typically supportive. Less than 20 cases of human survival from clinical rabies have been documented.”
The incubation period for the disease “may last for weeks to months,” according to the CDC, depending on the type of rabies virus, any immunity, and how far away the bite is from the brain.
Authorities in Oaxaca have gone to the children’s remote indigenous town of Palo de Lima to vaccinate dogs and cats against rabies.