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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. Presumptive Abortive Human Rabies — Texas, 2009

Press Contact: Christopher Cox
Division of Media Relations           
(404) 639-0045

Rabies is a very serious infectious disease that is almost always fatal, but fully preventable.  While this case illustrates a unique instance of what is presumed to be a recovery from rabies, such instances are extremely rare.  A new report of a suggestive recovery from rabies, in a Texas teenager, is unique in the biomedical world. Rabies is an acute progressive encephalitis. This zoonosis, usually acquired after a bite from a rabid animal, has one of the highest case fatality rates of any infectious disease. Disease prevention entails avoiding exposure. After exposure, the combination of wound care and administration of biologics against rabies virus virtually ensures survival.  Once a person becomes sick, most patients die in a short time. Recovery after illness onset is extremely rare, even after intensive medical therapy. Unlike all survivors to date, this unvaccinated patient recovered from an atypically mild form of rabies, without intensive medical care.

2. Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella Typhimurium Infections Associated with Pet Turtle Exposure — United States, 2008

Press Contact: CDC
Division of Media Relations           
(404) 639-3286

Pet turtles are sources of Salmonella infections, which can cause serious illness in young children, the elderly, or persons who have lowered natural resistance to disease.  This report describes an outbreak of 135 human Salmonella infections in the United States between March and November 2008, associated with exposure to small turtles. Many of the infections occurred in young children.  Young children without direct turtle exposure are at risk for turtle-associated salmonellosis through person-to-person transmission in child-care settings. Salmonella infections in children may be severe and can result in hospitalization and, occasionally, death. A 1975 federal prohibition against the sale of small turtles (i.e. those with shell lengths < 4 inches) led to a substantial decline in human Salmonella infections. However, these infections continue to occur. Increasing enforcement of existing local, state, and federal regulations against the sale of small turtles, increasing penalties for illegal sales, and enacting more state and local laws regulating the sale of small turtles could augment federal prevention efforts. 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

  • Historical Document: February 25, 2010
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