A 24-year-old American soldier died of rabies after being bitten by a dog last year in Afghanistan, US health officials said Thursday following an investigation into the rare case.
The otherwise healthy soldier started experiencing symptoms of shoulder and neck pain and tingling sensations in his hands soon after arriving at Fort Drum, N.Y., in mid-August 2011.
His condition escalated to include nausea, vomiting, anxiety and trouble swallowing. By the time he was admitted to an emergency room, he was dehydrated and hydrophobic, meaning he developed an intense fear of drinking liquids because of the painful muscle spasms he experienced while swallowing.
“He was lucid and described having received a dog bite on the right hand during January 2011 while deployed to Afghanistan,” said the report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The soldier tested positive for a strain of rabies associated with dogs in Afghanistan and doctors attempted an experimental treatment to save him from certain death.