Rabies Kills Man Bitten by Cat While Overseas

Maricruz Casares
Noviembre 15, 2018

A Briton has died after contracting rabies while on holiday in Morocco, health officials have said.

No human cases of rabies from animals other than bats have been reported since 1902 (Public Health England has information on what to do if you're bitten by a bat).

While there is "no risk" to the wider public, the victim's family, friends and involved medical staff are being monitored and provided with vaccinations if necessary, the health agency said.

Public Health England said: 'Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or licked by an animal in a country with rabies, or has had direct contact with a bat in this country, should take immediate action by washing the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water.

The UK has been free of rabies since the beginning of the 20th century, with the exception of a rabies-like virus in a species of wild bat called Daubenton's bats.

Rabies is common in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa.

Rabies is a rare but serious infection which is nearly always fatal when symptoms appear.

"This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when traveling to countries where rabies is president", the head of immunizations at PHE, Mary Ramsay, said in a statement.

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The infection is not found in United Kingdom animals except in a small number of wild bats. It does not spread from human to human.

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, feeling unwell and in some cases discomfort at the site of the bite.

Rabies can be dealt with very effectively if treated correctly and immediately; more information can be found on the HSPC website here.

The most recent case was in 2012, when a United Kingdom citizen was bitten by a dog in South Asia.

"After a bite on the foot, there is more time to vaccinate before the virus reaches the brain by traveling along nerve cells, than if one was bitten on the back of the neck".

Thankfully, the condition is pretty rare, but once symptoms appear it is almost always fatal, and treatment usually consists of making the person as comfortable as possible.

Without treatment, symptoms will usually develop between three and 12 weeks, but they can be later or sooner. Spasms of the muscles used for swallowing make it hard for the patient to drink.

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