A British citizen has died from rabies after being bitten by a cat while visiting Morocco, health officials have confirmed.
Public Health England shared the news Monday in issuing a warning to UK travellers. Rabies is passed through bites or scratches from on infected animal.
While a rabies vaccine given soon after exposure can treat the virus, once symptoms, such as headaches, fever, hallucinations, breathing problems and difficulty swallowing, appear, there really is no cure.
And in Morocco, stray cats are everywhere.
Cute but far from cuddly.
“This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when travelling to countries where rabies is present,” Dr. Mary Ramsay, the public health agency’s Head of Immunisations said in a statement. “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.”
Public Health England also said there is no public risk in this case, but as a precaution, health workers and close contacts to the deceased individual are being given vaccinations where necessary.
Human rabies is “extremely rare” in the UK, where the virus hasn’t been detected among domestic or wild animals. Although, some species of bats can carry a rabies-like virus, according to health officials.
There have been no human cases reported there since 1902 other than from bats, and there have been five cases of human rabies related to animal exposures abroad between 2000 and 2017.
But rabies is common throughout Asia and Africa.
The advice: visitors should stay away from dogs, cats and other animals when they travel abroad.
Main photo Public Health England/Facebook