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September 18, 1996

Human Rabies—Florida, 1996

JAMA. 1996;276(11):865-866. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540110019011

ON FEBRUARY 8, 1996, a 26-year-old man died in a hospital in Naples, Florida, following progressive neurologic deterioration. Rabies had been clinically suspected on the day he was admitted (December 30, 1995) and was confirmed by CDC on January 10, 1996. This report summarizes the investigation of this case by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Collier County Public Health Unit, which indicated a dog in Mexico as the probable source of exposure.

The patient was a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States on December 4, 1995. He sought care from a private physician in Immokalee, Florida, on December 29 because of anxiety, difficulty breathing while speaking, left lower-quadrant abdominal pain, left leg pain, lower back pain, and lethargy. Findings on physical examination included injected conjunctivae, a temperature of 96.3 F (35.7 C), pulse of 112 beats per minute, and rebound tenderness to the abdomen.