The Province

Rabid dog’s bite kills U.S. soldier


WASHINGTON — A U.S. army soldier has died of rabies after being bitten by a dog in Afghanista­n.

The 24-year-old male first complained in mid-august 2011 of symptoms including shoulder and neck pain, odd sensations in his hands and fainting, shortly after arriving at Fort Drum, N.Y., for a new military assignment.

“He was lucid and described having received a dog bite on the right hand during January 2011 while deployed to Afghanista­n,” said the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tests confirmed that the patient had a type of canine rabies associated with dogs in Afghanista­n.

The soldier’s condition swiftly deteriorat­ed after he was hospitaliz­ed on Aug. 19.

He suffered a severe brain hemorrhage and after consulting with doctors who said recovery was unlikely, the family withdrew life support. The soldier, whose name was withheld, died Aug. 31.

Although he had told family and friends while in Afghanista­n in January 2011 that he had been “bitten by a feral dog and had sought medical treatment, which he described as wound cleansing and injections,” an army probe turned up no documentat­ion of a reported bite wound or treatment. Nor was there any record of the dog being taken in for rabies tests.

The incubation period for rabies can range from 10 days to seven years, though it is typically between three and seven weeks according to the U.S. Library of Medicine.

The soldier had also travelled in Germany before falling ill, and the CDC investigat­ion found that he had interacted with some 190 people between the time of his dog bite and his hospitaliz­ation.

A total of 29 people were treated for rabies exposure as a preventive measure.

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