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13 Nov 2018

BY James Chapple

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Rabies warning to British tourists after Morocco death

Brits holidaying in countries where rabies is prevalent have been warned to avoid contract with cats, dogs and other animals after a tourist contracted the disease and died following a cat bite.

Cat Morocco Rabat Hassan Ouajbir Unsplash.jpg
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Rabies warning to British tourists after Morocco death

The man has been named by The Sun as 58-year-old Omar Zouhri from Aylesbury - a British-Moroccan national who was visiting relatives in Mehdya, around 30 miles north of the Moroccan capital Rabat.


His death earlier this month prompted on Monday (November 12) a warning from Public Health England (PHE) to holidaymakers about the dangers of approaching animals that can carry rabies, and of the importance of getting vaccinated before travelling.


A PHE statement read: “A UK resident sadly died after becoming infected with rabies following a cat bite during a visit to Morocco. There is no risk to the wider public in relation to this case but, as a precautionary measure, health workers and close contacts are being assessed and offered vaccination when necessary.


“Rabies is common in other parts of the world, especially in Asia and Africa. All travellers to rabies affected countries should avoid contact with dogs, cats and other animals wherever possible, and seek advice about the need for rabies vaccine prior to travel.”


The disease, said PHE, is passed on through bites and scratches from an infected animal. There are no documented instances of direct human to human transmission.


It advised anyone bitten, scratched or even licked by an animal in a country was rabies should immediately wash the wound and seek immediate medical advice, even if they have been vaccinated.


“When given promptly after an exposure, a course of rabies vaccine is extremely effective at preventing the disease,” added PHE.


“If such an exposure occurs abroad, the traveller should also consult their doctor on return so the course of rabies treatment can be completed. If travellers have not sought medical advice abroad, they should contact their doctor promptly upon return for assessment.”

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