ATLANTA — U.S. health officials reported Friday the second confirmed death of rabies in a patient who had received rabies vaccine within 24 hours of being bitten.
The case occurred in Thailand, where a 10-year-old boy last March was bitten by a rabid dog, and died of rabies 36 days later, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported.
The child had received standard human rabies vaccine and immunity-boosting globulin, or protein, within 21 hours after his bite. Still, he developed the deadly disease.
"There are several possible explanations," the Atlanta-based CDC said. The boy's severe bite was in his head, which increased his chances of rabies; the wound was flushed with saline solution, not soap and water as recommended; and his vaccine was given in the buttocks, not in the arm as is recommended.
"Proper wound management and proper administration of . . . (the vaccine) might have prevented disease," the agency said.
About 18,000 Americans each year receive precautionary treatment after exposure to possibly rabid animals.