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ICE Detainee Succumbs to Rabies

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Posted: Jun 12, 2013 8:56 PM

CORPUS CHRISTI - A Guatemalan national, who had been in the custody since May 12, died Tuesday at a Corpus Christi hospital.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the man, Federico Mendez Hernandez, 28, was diagnosed with rabies. Health experts believe he contracted the virus prior to crossing into the United States.

Border Patrol agents arrested Mendez on May 9 on the Rio Grande near Hidalgo. He was transferred to ICE custody three days later. On May 18, Mendez was transported to Christus Spohn Hospital Kleberg in Kingsville after he reported symptoms compatible with rabies. The following day, he was transferred to Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital in Corpus Christi.

On Friday, laboratory testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the diagnosis of rabies. CDC results show the rabies virus is a canine variant common in Central America.

A representative from the Guatemalan consulate was with Mendez at the time of his death and will notify his next of kin.

ICE protocol notified state health and local law enforcement agencies.

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