Tourists warned as UK resident dies of rabies after being bitten by cat in Morocco
Tourists travelling to countries affected by rabies have been warned to avoid contact with certain animals.
A UK resident has died after becoming infected with rabies having been bitten by a cat on a recent visit to Morocco.
The news has prompted Public Health England to issue a reminder to tourists travelling to rabies-affected countries to avoid coming into contact with animals due to the risk of catching the disease.
In a statement, Public Health England (PHE) said: “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 is passed on through injuries such as bites and scratches from an infected animal. There are no documented instances of direct human to human transmission.”
Though not common in Ireland and the United Kingdom – there has not been a case of rabies in animals in Ireland since 1902 – rabies is common in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Africa.
All travellers to rabies-affected countries have been advised to avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.
Commenting on this particular case, Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE 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 can be dealt with very effectively if treated correctly and immediately; more information can be found on the HSPC website here.