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Rabies (Human) in Chile

15 Aug 2013

A human case of rabies virus infection has been reported from the commune of Quilpue in Valparaiso; a major seaport in central Chile. The affected individual was attacked by a pack of stray dogs and bitten by two of them. None of the dogs were caught for testing. The health authorities have ordered the vaccination of all dogs and cats within a 500m radius of the incident.

The last human case of rabies by virus of canine origin was in 1972. The last human case of infection by bat rabies dates back to 1996. The most recent cases of rabies in domestic animals were in 2007, a dog and a cat in the city of Curico, that had exposure to bats.

Over the years there have been only sporadically verified of cases of rabies in bats, maintained what is known as the sylvatic cycle of the disease.

Advice for Travellers

Chile is considered a low risk destination for rabies in terrestrial animals. Pre-exposure vaccine is available for those at particular risk. Contact with animals should be avoided and all bites and contact with bats should be reported for medical assessment.