The CDC report details that the 65-year-old woman contracted the disease when she was bitten on the hand by a puppy in India:
According to the husband, the patient cleaned the wound with the help of the tour operator but did not seek further medical treatment. The patient had no record of a pretravel health screening, did not receive rabies preexposure vaccination before the trip, nor had she ever been vaccinated against rabies.
Roughly six weeks later, she became symptomatic and was admitted to the hospital. Rabies infects the central nervous system, though early symptoms are similar to other illnesses: fever, headache, weakness, or discomfort. The CDC notes that as the virus progresses, symptoms that tend to appear include insomnia, slight or partial paralysis, hallucinations, hypersalivation, and hydrophobia.
An experimental treatment failed to save the woman’s life, and she was removed from life support on May 21, 2017. According to the CDC, this was the ninth death in the United States from rabies infection acquired while traveling or working abroad since 2008.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease, most often carried by wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.