Human cases of rabies are now very rare in Los
Angeles County. The risk of rabies is low
here overall because so many pets are
vaccinated against it.
Human Rabies Cases in Los Angeles County
2004 - A 22 year old man was
taken to a local hospital with with abdominal pain, delusions, and
increasing aggression. He died after 6 days in
the hospital, and was diagnosed with
rabies by autopsy. An investigation
by public health workers revealed the man was
most likely bitten by a rabid dog more than 15
months earlier in El Salvador, and had not
received rabies prophylaxis at the time. This
case is listed in the CDC data below.
1975 - A 16 year old girl was
taken to a local hospital. She had had 2 weeks
of abdominal pain, 2 days of burning sensation
on the bottom of one foot, and 1 day of fever, headache, problems
swallowing, and intermittent auditory hallucinations.
The patient was initially thought to have a
psychiatric condition, until the physical
She was diagnosed with rabies by testing skin samples
from the back of the neck for the virus, and by
testing her blood for anti-rabies antibodies. She died after
17 days in the hospital. An
investigation by public health workers revealed
that the young woman had likely been bitten by a
rabid dog in Mexico 9 months before her illness.