The increase in human rabies infections in Mexico prompted a warning from public health authorities on Tuesday, Jan. 24, Mexico News Daily reported.

In addition to the general public, the alert was sent to members of the National Network of Public Health Laboratories, all hospitals, and Hospital Epidemiological Surveillance Units.

All medical units around the nation have received instructions on how to handle a suspected or confirmed case of rabies from the National Epidemiological Surveillance System (Sinave).

“Any suspected, probable, or confirmed case of human rabies must be registered in medical care establishments and be reported to Sinave,” the circulated document said.

The notice also contains recommendations for the general public, such as staying away from wild animals, vaccinating pets against rabies, and keeping pets away from wild animals.

Health officials have identified three human rabies cases in the past two months and are closely monitoring 13 additional instances that may be rabid, the most recent of which includes nine people who had contact with an infected dog in Sonora. A suspected case of human rabies had not been reported in the state for 30 years, according to a recent statement from the health ministry of the state.

It will be the first time since 2005 that a human in Mexico has contracted rabies from a dog if one of the nine cases is verified.

After being bitten by a bat carrying the disease in December, a seven-year-old boy and his sister, who was eight, passed away earlier this month in Oaxaca. Health officials harshly criticized the case because it took weeks before they were diagnosed and admitted to the hospital.

Hugo López Gatell, the deputy health minister, was questioned about the case on Dec. 27 by a reporter. He stated that the youngsters were from a very impoverished rural region with two hours journey to the nearest medical facility and with a lot of wild animals that might be transmitting the disease.

Three other cases have been reported in Oaxaca this month.

Most, or 66%, of rabies cases in humans in the Americas, are transmitted by wild animals. The fatality rate of the illness is nearly 100% once symptoms appear.

Mexico Official Party Defection Rep. Pic
Ricardo Mejia, the number two security official in Mexico, has resigned from his position as well as from the President's Morena party as he plans his bid for governor of the Coahuila state. This is a representational image. Jorge Aguilar/Unsplash.

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