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The Ministry of Agriculture reported Thursday:

On Thursday, October 27, the Institut Pasteur confirmed a case of rabies in a Husky cross-type dog detained in a refuge in Évry-Courcouronnes in Essonne (91). The animal bit several people who were quickly taken care of by the rabies center of the Pasteur Institute, which administered a very effective post-exposure prophylactic treatment. The other people identified as having been exposed to the animal have been contacted by the ARS Ile-de-France and are also directed, if their exposure requires it, to a consultation in an anti-rabies center.

Image/Robert Herriman

On Tuesday, October 25, the health authorities received a report of suspected rabies in a 4-year-old dog detained in a refuge in Évry-Courcouronnes in Essonne (91). The final results obtained on October 27 confirm this diagnosis. This dog showed symptoms of rabies and bit several people. Those bitten were informed and taken care of by the Antirabies Center of the Institut Pasteur as soon as the first positive results were obtained on Wednesday, October 26, then confirmed the next day by the National Reference Center for Rabies at the Institut Pasteur. .

The animal developed the first signs on October 19 and died on October 25. Throughout the period of contagiousness (up to 15 days before the first signs ), the dog remained in the shelter, alone in its box or in a small courtyard . No other animal in the shelter showed symptoms or signs suggestive of rabies. Given the incubation period, the dog had necessarily contracted rabies before arriving at the shelter.

ARS Île-de-France carried out health investigations to determine the people who may have been exposed to the dog during its period of contagiousness (from October 5 to 25). These people thus identified were contacted by the agency to clarify their exposure and organize a consultation at the anti-rabies center if necessary. Any additional people who would have visited the Assistance Refuge Animaux (ARA) shelter located at 1, rue des Paveurs in Évry-Courcouronnes in Essonne between October 4 and 25, who would have been in direct contact with the animal (scratches , bite, licking on wound or damaged skin or on mucous membrane) and who have not already been contacted by ARS Ile-de-France are invited to contact 0 800 811 411 which is reserved for them.

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The first investigations, still in progress, indicate that this dog could have been illegally imported from Morocco, a country where rabies is endemic.

The investigations carried out to precisely identify the origin of this animal are carried out by the Departmental Directorate for the Protection of Populations (DDPP) of 91, which placed the refuge under prefectural surveillance order on  October 25. The refuge has been closed and prohibited access to unauthorized persons since that date.

Rabies : infection and symptoms 

Rabies is fatal if not treated in time . Preventive treatment for human rabies is most effective if given after contact with the carrier animal, but before symptoms appear .

France is officially recognized as free from rabies (excluding bats), but the disease continues to circulate in many countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, where dogs remain responsible for the majority of cases of transmission to humans.

Contamination of humans is done by an animal through saliva on the occasion of biting, scratching, licking injured skin or mucous membrane (eye, mouth). It is not transmitted during petting of the animal. Rabies is not transmitted between humans.

Rabies has an average incubation of 20 to 60 days and presents clinically in two forms. The most common, is manifested by the classic but inconstant symptoms of hydrophobia (repulsion towards water, which is in fact a spasm of the larynx which prevents swallowing) or aerophobia (intolerance to the sensation of draft) with rapidly progressing encephalitis. The rarer paralytic form is characterized by progressive flaccid paralysis (the muscles gradually paralyze from the site of the bite or scratch) that progresses more slowly and is more difficult to diagnose.

Rabies prevention

The fight against rabies is based on a set of measures and tools available in animal health and human health.

The best prevention of rabies remains the avoidance of biting, scratching and licking the mucous membranes or damaged skin. In any case, travelers are therefore reminded not to come into contact with unknown animals, domestic or wild (dogs, cats, monkeys, etc.).

In the event of contact (scratching, biting, licking on a wound or damaged skin or mucous membrane), it is advisable to immediately carry out careful washing with soap and water (15 minutes if possible), to disinfect the wound and to consult the as soon as possible a doctor from a rabies center to assess the need to implement appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (vaccination, possibly with serotherapy). The implementation of these measures makes it possible to avoid the appearance of symptoms of rabies.

In certain specific cases, preventive vaccination against rabies may also be recommended  ; for example for exposed professionals travelers going to an area at risk or without easy access to healthcare structures (rural or mountainous areas, isolated, independent travel, etc.).

In France (and with the exception of French Guyana), a country free from rabies, vaccination of pets is practiced on an incentive basis, and only animals traveling or staying in places open to the public (eg camping) are required to be vaccinated. In many countries (in the European Union and throughout the world), anti-rabies vaccination very often constitutes a mandatory health condition before entering the territory, thus allowing vaccination protection for animals traveling with their owner.

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