The death of 2 women from rabies virus infection on successive days has raised concerns over the increasing problem of stray dogs in the city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu state in the south of India.
The first case, a 55-year-old woman who was admitted to hospital on 12 March 2013, with suspected rabies infection died the same day. The woman had been bitten by a stray dog 2 weeks previously. The second case, a 45-year-old woman who was admitted to hospital on 11 March 2013, with suspected rabies infection also died the same day.
Hospital authorities report that 5 individuals have died from rabies infection in the hospital during the last 3 months, this compares with 12 deaths for the whole of 2012. On average, there have been 10 human deaths from rabies annually over the last 5 years.
Advice for Travellers
India is a high risk destination for rabies and travellers should be made aware and be advised to avoid all animal contact. Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.