The Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal (Senasa) – National Animal Health Service – says it has detected the first bovine paralytic rabies outbreak of the year.

The finding was made in Canoas de Corredores, in the Southern Zone. Specifically in the Guayabal farm, where five cattle died due to the disease.

The affected farm has an exposed population of 40 animals. Senasa established sanitary and quarantine measures on the affected farm. In addition, the Senasa has begun the capturing of vampire-bats to lower the existing population of this flying mammal, which transmits rabies.

“The vampire bat being the main vector for the transmission of this disease,” said Federico Chaverri, director of the Directorate of Operations of Senasa.

Authorities are carrying out an epidemiological investigation on the farm where the outbreak occurred and on the neighboring farms to search for new affected animals.

The exposed animals (cattle and dogs) are being protected through vaccination.

Senasa is also coordinating with the Corredores Hospital and the area Ministry of Health office, to vaccinate people who were in contact with the infected animals.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals, including humans. It causes lack of coordination, difficulty walking, salivation, paralysis of the legs that prevents getting up, twisting of the neck and, finally, death.

Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is nearly always fatal. For this reason, anyone who may have a risk of contracting rabies should receive rabies vaccines for protection.

Seek immediate medical care if you’re bitten by any animal, or exposed to an animal suspected of having rabies. The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to the flu and may last for days. Later signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis

It occurs with certain periodicity as part of the dynamics of the sylvatic cycle of the disease. Senasa applies established protocols to respond to outbreaks.

Specialists recommend avoiding contact with sick animals with nervous symptoms, burying animal carcasses, vaccinating animals and immediately reporting any suspicious cases to the nearest Senasa office.

In 2017 Senasa detected 2 outbreaks of bovine paralytic rabies in San Vito de Coto Brus.

In other health alerts, the Senasa issued on January 9 the alert case of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis in Palmira, Carrillo, Guanacaste.