A British tourist has reportedly died after contracting rabies in Morocco. The Briton contracted the disease after being bitten by a rabid cat during a holiday trip to the North African country, according to the BBC. No more information was released about the deceased Briton.
Public Health England said that as a precautionary measure, people in contact with the person and health workers involved with treatment were undergoing assessment. They will be offered a rabies vaccine if it is determined to be necessary, said PHE. Rabies is not transmissible from person to person.
Rabies is not found in domesticated animals or wildlife in the UK. This recent death from the deadly disease is the first case Great Britain’s had in 16 years. Meanwhile, the PHE is warning people traveling to rabies-affected countries to avoid coming into contact with cats and dogs.
Only five Britons have been infected with rabies in recent history, and those people were exposed to animals while traveling abroad. The last recorded case of it in the UK was in 2012 after a person was bitten in South Asia by a dog.
The World Health Organization states that rabies is found in over 150 countries, and the British government says that North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria are among the countries where the risk of infection is the highest.
Rabies is under control in most parts of the world. However, in Africa, the Encephalitis Society estimates that there are around 25,000 deaths attributed to it annually. Those highest at risk are children because they have a tendency to play with animals that are infected at a higher rate than adults do.
Transmission of it WHO says, “Causes tens of thousands of death every year, mainly in Asia and Africa.” Domestic dogs are usually responsible for rabies transmissions about 99 percent of the time.
Infection of humans by rabies is rare, but in the United States, one to three cases still present themselves annually. Additionally, 23 cases have been reported in America in the last decade. Rarer still, are deaths resulting from contracting the rabies virus.
The Inquisitr reported on the first rabies death in Utah since 1944. In that case, the man, Gary Giles, was believed by health officials to have contracted the rabies virus after coming in contact with a bat. The CDC reports that the majority of rabies cases reported to them annually occur in wildlife such as bats, foxes, and raccoons.
Rabies is a severe viral infection that affects the brain and central nervous system, and it initially causes fever and headaches. Once rabies develops fully it is almost always fatal, and, per Scientific American, there has only been one reported case of a person surviving without the rabies vaccine at that point.
Public Health England provides an A to Z list of rabies risk by country to those traveling on gov.uk.