Guyana: one person dies of rabies in Cayenne

Guyana: one person dies of rabies in Cayenne

Three patients died at the Cayenne hospital, at least one of whom was infected with rabies, this is the first case in sixteen years, according to the prefecture and the ARS of Guyana. The three patients had been admitted to the intensive care unit at Cayenne hospital between February 17 and March 1, “coming from from the illegal gold panning site d’Eau Claire”, in southern Guyana.

The press release does not specify the dates of the deaths and analyzes are still underway to determine the causes of the death of the two other people.

Until now, the only documented case of rabies in Guyana dates back to 2008, recalled Anne Lavergne, head of the virus/host interactions laboratory at the Pasteur Institute. “The main reservoir of rabies in South America is the vampire bats Desmodus rotundus,” she explained. This virus is lethal to all species, including humans, except for these bats.

An unknown origin

How the victim was infected is not yet known, she said, adding that it is possible that “an entire colony of bats was infected over a short period of time, leading to a likelihood of encounters higher on a localized human population.

In the meantime, health authorities are tracing people likely to have come into contact with the patient and a public health mission will go to the Eau Claire site, which was illegal, to assess the situation, according to the prefecture and the ARS.

Worldwide, rabies is still responsible for around 60,000 deaths per year, mainly in Asia and Africa, most often following a bite from a sick animal. No case of inter-human contamination of rabies has ever been demonstrated.

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