British tourist dies after being bitten by cat on Morocco vacation

Henrietta Strickland
November 15, 2018

A British traveler has died from rabies after being bitten by a rabid cat while holidaying in Morocco, according to The Telegraph.

Public Health England (PHE) revealed the news on Monday, and renewed the risk of diseased to travellers heading overseas.

PHE said there is "no risk" to the wider public but as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts have been offered vaccination if necessary.

Talking of the news of the latest death, Dr Mary Ramsay of PHE has been widely quoted as saying that, "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".

As is the case here, rabies is passed on through injuries such as bites and scratches from an infected animal.

Rabies does not circulate in either wild or domestic animals in the United Kingdom, although some species of bats can carry a rabies-like virus. That case was reported in Scotland in 2002, with the victim having sustained a number of bat bites.

You can have your pets vaccinated against rabies and there are vaccinations available if you are travelling to countries where the disease is common.

Rabies is common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America.

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.

However, it is a vaccine-preventable virus and the immediate washing of a wound after being bitten or scratched by an animal carrying rabies - alongside immediate medical treatment - can save lives, the World Health Organisation states.

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

The UK has been rabies-free since the beginning of the 20th century, with the exception of rabies-like viruses in some wild bat species.

The last recorded rabies case in Britain was in 2012, after a United Kingdom resident was bitten by a dog in south Asia.

It said symptoms could appear within several days of exposure to an infected animal, but could take years to emerge.

Additional symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations, muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing or breathing and paralysis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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