Briton dies from rabies after trip to Morocco

Rabies virus particles inside neuron computer illustration. Rabies viruses multiply inside the cytoplasm of brain cells. Their accumulation is seen histologically as so-called Negri bodies. The presence of Negri bodies inside a tissue sample

The online medium reported that Public Health England issued a warning to travellers after the United Kingdom resident contracted the disease after being bitten by a rabid cat.

PHE did not release any further details but reassured the public there was no wider risk. The infection passes to people through scratches and bites from another infected animal.

No human cases of rabies acquired in the United Kingdom from animals other than bats have been reported since 1902.

An estimated 95 percent of instances occur in Africa and Asia, according to the World Health Organization, with over 99 percent of cases due to dog bites.

All travellers to rabies-affected countries have been advised to avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.

The spokesperson added: "Anyone who has been bitten, scratched, or licked by an animal in a country with rabies, or has had direct contact with a bat in this country, should take immediate action by washing the wound or site of exposure with plenty of soap and water".

Professor Jimmy Whitworth, professor of worldwide public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "My understanding is that this is somebody who had contact with a cat that was behaving abnormally and sought care, I believe in Morocco and in the United Kingdom, but unfortunately didn't receive vaccination until it was too late".

For more information on the risk of rabies in different countries, see the country information pages on the National Travel Health Network and Centre's (NaTHNaC's) website, TravelHealthPro.

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Once symptoms have developed, rabies is nearly always fatal.

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

Some species of bats in the United Kingdom can carry a rabies-like virus.

PHE also offered advice to anyone who may be scratched or bitten by an animal while overseas and is anxious about getting rabies.

Rabies is an infection of the nervous system that causes headaches, fever and muscle spasms.

According to NHS Choices, the infection is nearly always deadly once symptoms appear, but treatment before this is very effective.

It said symptoms could appear within several days of exposure to an infected animal, but could take years to emerge. There's also a vaccine for people at risk of being infected.

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