England health officials issued a travel warning this week after a UK resident died after becoming infected with rabies following a cat bite during a visit to Morocco.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunizations at Public Health England said:
This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when travelling to countries where rabies is present. If you are bitten, scratched or licked by an animal you must wash the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water and seek medical advice without delay.
There is no risk to the wider public in relation to this case but, as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts are being assessed and offered vaccination when necessary.
Rabies does not circulate in either wild or domestic animals in the UK, although some species of bats can carry a rabies-like virus. Human rabies is extremely rare in the UK. No human cases of rabies acquired in the UK from animals other than bats have been reported since 1902.
Rabies is common in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa. All travellers to rabies affected countries should avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.
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. Local medical advice should be sought without delay, even in those who have been previously vaccinated.
When given promptly after an exposure, a course of rabies vaccine is extremely effective at preventing the disease. If such an exposure occurs abroad, the traveller should also consult their doctor on return, so that the course of rabies treatment can be completed. If travellers have not sought medical advice abroad, they should contact their doctor promptly upon return for assessment.
- Malaria: 300K bednets sent to Amazon Region of Brazil
- Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerias and São Paulo are among the areas at risk for yellow fever
- Antibiotic resistance: Survey says 81 percent of Americans concerned
- Dengue outbreak in Senegal includes CDC travel notice
- Measles outbreak in Thailand: More than 1,500 cases in the South
- Ebola death toll tops 200
- China: African swine fever outbreak reported in Anhui Province