Via The Star, a report by Helen Branswell of The Canadian Press: Strain testing suggests Toronto rabies case infected in Dominican Republic. Excerpt:
Toronto’s first human rabies case in over 80 years almost certainly became infected outside of Canada.
An official of Toronto Public Health said testing of the strain of the deadly virus taken from the unidentified patient showed it is one known to circulate on the island of Hispaniola.
“The strain results do show that this does seem to be a travel-related case. It is not a strain that’s found in Canada,” said Dr. Elizabeth Rae, associate medical officer of health for the city of Toronto.
Rae said testing done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency showed the strain of the virus is one that is found in dogs and mongooses in Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Fifteen health-care workers have been offered preventative rabies treatment because they had what a public health assessment determined was a “potential exposure” to rabies through the patient, Toronto Public Health spokesperson Jennifer Veenboer said.
The department evaluated the type of contact staff in the health facilities that saw and treated the patient had with him to try to determine if any workers needed to be offered treatment.
A combination of rabies shots and human rabies immune globulin — antibodies taken from the blood of people immunized against rabies — can prevent infection if given quickly enough after the exposure.
Veenboer said the investigation identified 177 health-care workers who had some interaction with the patient. But it was determined the majority didn’t have the type of contact that might have put them at risk of infection.