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Dangerous infection: Ten-year-old boy with rabies in the clinic


Ten-year-old boy suffering from rabies after dog bite

Rabies is still considered one of the most dangerous infectious diseases worldwide. In Germany it has been largely eradicated for several years, but the disease is still ubiquitous in Africa and Asia. This was fatal to a little boy from France. The child became infected with a dog bite while on vacation in Sri Lanka. Now the ten-year-old is in the hospital in his home country.

Rabies kills tens of thousands every year

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 59,000 people die from rabies each year worldwide. In Germany, the dangerous infectious disease was virtually eradicated. The virus has only been detected in bats in Germany in recent years, which is why experts warn that the animals should never be touched with bare hands. However, the disease is still widespread in many countries in Africa and Asia. This was fatal to a child from France. The boy was infected on vacation in Sri Lanka.

Little boy from France became infected with fatal illness

Rabies has been demonstrated in a ten-year-old child in France. According to a report by the French newspaper "Le Monde", the boy has been treated in a hospital since last week.

According to a statement by the health authority of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in Lyon, the boy was infected during a stay in Sri Lanka in August when he was bitten by a dog on a beach.

Health experts say the viruses are almost always transmitted through scratches or bites from dogs or other infected mammals.

However, the virus can also be transmitted if damaged skin or the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eye come into contact with infected dog saliva, for example.

Not a cure

There is no cure for the disease. It does not break out in anyone who is infected, but in those who break it out, it is almost 100 percent fatal.

After an infection, there are initially uncharacteristic symptoms such as headache and loss of appetite. Fever is not always found.

Burning, itching and increased pain sensitivity in the area of ​​the bite wound are also possible.

Later, there will be, among other things, cramps in the pharynx and considerable fear of drinking. The patient's mood changes between aggressive and depressive mood.

“Death usually occurs in a coma and under the signs of respiratory paralysis. In untreated patients, there is a maximum of 7 days between the appearance of the first symptoms and death, ”writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.

Years can pass before the onset of the disease

“The incubation period is usually three to eight weeks. In individual cases, it can even take several years for the disease to break out, "explained Professor Dr. med. Tomas Jelinek, Scientific Director of the CRM Center for Travel Medicine in a message.

The expert warns that the risk of rabies should always be borne in mind when traveling abroad, and if necessary be vaccinated beforehand.

Effective vaccines are available that can help shortly after an animal bite.

Infected abroad

Rabies is extremely rare in France and Germany. The French authorities have registered only 23 cases since 1970 - all of them had been infected abroad.

The health agency in Lyon emphasized that no infection between people has been demonstrated worldwide - with the exception of very rare exceptions in which organs from an infected donor have been transplanted.

Nevertheless, as a precaution, those persons who had direct contact with the child's saliva or tears were identified. Now it is checked whether they should be vaccinated in each case.

The last rabies case in Germany occurred according to the RKI in February 2006 in a fox near Mainz. Domestic and wild animals, especially foxes, are still monitored, but these are only security measures.

Germany and France are officially considered “rabies free”.

“The last rabies case with a person in Germany occurred in 2007. It was a man who was bitten by a stray dog ​​in Morocco, ”said the RKI. (ad)

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