Briton dies from rabies after cat bite in Morocco

Briton dies from rabies after cat bite in Morocco
A Briton has died after contracting rabies while on holiday in Morocco, health officials have said. Public Health England said the victim became infected after being bitten by a cat. PHE issued a reminder to travellers to avoid coming into contact with animals when in rabies-affected countries. Rabies is not found in wild or domestic animals in the UK, but five Britons became infected between 2000 and 2017 after “animal exposures abroad”. Some species of bats in the UK can carry a rabies-like virus. According to the World Health Organization, the disease occurs in more than 150 countries and causes tens of thousands of deaths every year, mainly in Asia and Africa. It says in up to 99% of cases, domestic dogs are responsible for the transmission of the virus to humans. The UK government says North African countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia are among 139 nations where there is a high risk. PHE did not release further details about the Briton’s death. It said that while there was no risk to the wider public, as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts of the person who died were being assessed and offered vaccination if necessary. Rabies is a viral infection that affects the brain and central nervous system. It is passed on through bites and scratches from an infected animal. There are no documented instances of it being transmitted via human to human contact. 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.” The last recorded rabies case in Britain was in 2012, after a UK resident was bitten by a dog in south Asia.

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