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New rabies case found, this time in Mérida

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Residents in Yucatán are advised to avoid stray animals while they attempt to contain a rabies outbreak. Photo: Getty

Mérida, Yucatán — Another case of rabies has been detected, this time in a pet cat at Col. Pensiones.

State health officials have launched a door-to-door vaccination campaign, just as they have in Progreso, where a pit bull was found to have the dangerous virus.

The Pensiones neighborhood is to the west of the Paseo de Montejo, above García Ginerés.

The deputy director of Public Health, Mirza Tec Kumul, said that the feline was a rescue, found as a stray on the Muna-San Jose Tipceh road and adopted by a local resident. The rabies outbreak, the first in 20 years, was detected and confirmed by the Central Regional Laboratory of Mérida.

The state agency has carried out a special operation to fully identify who was in contact with the infected cat, which led to a total of 11 people vaccinated. In addition, house-to-house monitoring was completed in a 25-block radius of the contact site.

Tec Kumul said that 332 homes were visited; vaccination shots were administered to 43 cats and 137 dogs.  

Residents are advised to avoid contact with stray animals. 

Rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Professionals advise against approaching any animal that appears hostile or disoriented, or is otherwise acting strangely. Moreover, an animal may be rabid for some time before it starts showing symptoms—meaning that any bite is cause to consult a doctor.

Bites are the most common means of transmission to humans, but being scratched or licked by a rabid animal — even breathing near a wheezing rabid animal — has caused infection.

With prompt attention after a bite, rabies is totally preventable with just a few shots in the arm.

But rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal in animals. 

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