Toronto man diagnosed with rabies

April 17, 2012 at 8:53 AM

TORONTO, April 17 (UPI) -- For the first time since 1931, a Toronto resident is hospitalized and being treated for rabies, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

The broadcaster said the victim was a 41-year-old man who had been working as a bartender in the Dominican Republic until he flew home a week ago with symptoms of the viral disease.

Police were summoned when he reportedly began acting strangely at a Canada Customs checkpoint and he was taken to the neurological intensive care unit at Toronto Western Hospital, the Toronto Star said.

Rabies in humans causes difficulty in swallowing and "hydrophobia," or a fear of water. It is almost always passed to humans through wild animals, health officials said.

Regardless, the people in close contact with the man are undergoing vaccinations as a precaution, the CBC said.

The last reported case of rabies in the country's largest city was a 3-year-old girl who was bitten by an infected bat in 1931, the reports said.

Nationally, there have been three cases of rabies reported in the past 12 years, all caused by bats.

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