Man dies from rabies after being bitten by cat in Morocco

British holidaymaker dies after contracting rabies while on holiday in Morocco

British holidaymaker dies after contracting rabies while on holiday in Morocco Credit Davide Seddio Moment RF

A British holidaymaker died after contracting rabies in Morocco, reports the Telegraph quoting the Public Health England (PHE).

Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that the United Kingdom resident was bitten by a cat while visiting the African country and subsequently contracted rabies.

Health workers and those in close contact with the deceased are now being assessed for rabies with a vaccination on offer if necessary.

Although there is no evidence of rabies being passed between humans, and there is "no risk" to the wider public, health workers and those close to the victim are being assessed and offered vaccination where necessary.

In a statement issued on the World Rabies Day, celebrated on September the 28th, the Moroccan Ministry of Health said that 65,000 people are vaccinated every year after being bitten or scratched by animals, especially stray dogs.

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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.

But a single case of human rabies acquired from a bat was reported in 2002 in Scotland.

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the brain and central nervous system. Once a person begins showing signs and symptoms of rabies, the disease is almost always fatal.

"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", she said. The last recorded rabies case in the United Kingdom was in 2012.

Animals in the United Kingdom are not affected apart from a small number of wild bats.

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

Initial symptoms include anxiety, headaches and fever, which can progress into hallucinations and respiratory failure, according to PHE. Spasms of the muscles used for swallowing make it hard for the patient to drink.

PHE said that travellers to rabies-affected countries should avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for a rabies vaccine prior to travel.

He added: "The typical time interval (for symptoms to appear) is two to three months, so you do have enough time (to seek care)".

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