Man died shortly after a supposedly harmless cat bite

Man died shortly after a supposedly harmless cat bite

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After a trip to Morocco: Brit dies of rabies after cat bite

A British citizen died of rabies after a vacation in Morocco. The man apparently got infected after being bitten by a cat in the North African country. The last rabies case in Germany was also due to an infection in Morocco.

Avoid contact with animals

A Briton died after contracting rabies on a trip to Morocco. According to the British health authority, Public Health England (PHE), the man was infected by a cat bite. In a communication, the experts are now calling on citizens traveling to countries affected by rabies to avoid contact with animals, as there is otherwise a risk of becoming infected.

Patient was not vaccinated in time

According to a report by The Guardian, Jimmy Whitworth, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Press Association news agency:

"As far as I understand, the man had contact with a cat who behaved abnormally."

He assumed that the patient sought medical help in Morocco and the UK, “but unfortunately did not receive any vaccinations until it was too late. I think the cat bit this person a few weeks ago. ”

According to the expert, the symptoms usually took two to three months, but they could also manifest in a week.

"That's why it's so important to get immediate care and vaccination," said Whitworth. "In this tragic case, the person didn't get the vaccine on time."

Rabies kills tens of thousands every year

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 59,000 people die from rabies each year worldwide. In Germany, the dangerous infectious disease was virtually eradicated.

The virus has only been detected in bats in Germany in recent years, which is why experts warn that the animals should never be touched with bare hands.

"For people living in Germany, there is currently an increased risk of infection almost exclusively when traveling to countries with endemic rabies," wrote the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.

Therefore, according to health experts, the risk of rabies should always be considered, especially when traveling abroad.

Dog bite infections

“Most human deaths are the result of bites from rabies-infected dogs. While dogs are the main reservoir for the classic rabies virus, in the past it was foxes in Germany, ”said the RKI.

The virus can also be transmitted if damaged skin or the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eye come into contact with infected dog saliva, for example.

However, the last rabies case in Germany was a long time ago. It was a man who was bitten by a stray dog ​​in Morocco in 2007.

There is no cure for rabies

"If you are bitten, scratched or licked by an animal, you must wash the wound or the place of exposure with plenty of soap and water and see a doctor immediately," said Dr. Mary Ramsay of the PHE health agency.

If one waits to see whether rabies symptoms appear, then it is usually too late for therapy.

Infection with the rabies pathogen is usually treated with immediate active vaccination and with special antibodies (immunoglobulin). Preventive vaccination is also available.

There is no cure for rabies. The disease does not break out in everyone who has become infected, but in those who break it out, it is almost 100 percent fatal.

Without treatment, the infection quickly leads to death

After an infection, there are initially uncharacteristic symptoms such as headache and loss of appetite. Fever does not occur in everyone.

Burning, itching and increased pain sensitivity in the area of ​​the bite wound are also possible. At this stage it may be too late for treatment.

Later, there will be, among other things, cramps in the pharynx and considerable fear of drinking. The patient's mood changes between aggressive and depressive mood.

“Death usually occurs in a coma and under the signs of respiratory paralysis. In untreated patients, there is a maximum of 7 days between the appearance of the first symptoms and death, ”writes the RKI. (ad)

Author and source information

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