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CDC confirms rabies led to soldier death

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FORT DRUM —The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that rabies was responsible for the death of a soldier who died shortly after arriving on post last August and that he may not have received proper treatment after being infected in Afghanistan.

Spc. Kevin R. Shumaker, 24, a 10th Mountain Division soldier from Livermore, Calif., died Aug. 31 at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. His death occurred weeks after he complained of pain in his neck, shoulder and arm while traveling here from his former base in Grafenwöhr, Germany.

The CDC report indicates that Spc. Shumaker was bitten by a feral dog while deployed in January 2011. The report also states that tests of the serum he was given showed that it did not have any antibodies specific to the rabies virus. The dog that bit him was not caught, so rabies tests could not be conducted.

An investigation of about 250 people who had contact with Spc. Shumaker, including medical staff in New York and former unit members in Germany, led to post exposure treatment for 29 people.

Spc. Shumaker’s death was the first due to rabies from dog exposure among U.S. service members since 1974.

The report can be found at 1.usa.gov/J4xLWl.

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