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Doctors alerted to rabies risk after case reported in France

HPA warns of rabies risk to returning travellers

OnMedica Staff

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

GPs are being asked to be vigilent following a confirmed case of rabies diagnosed in France in February.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said the case was diagnosed on 26 February. The French authorities have identified four potential risk areas where people may have been exposed to rabies, these include: Hautes-Pyrénées (Tarbes city and surroundings), from 25 October 2007 onwards, Gers (Auch city and surroundings), from 1 November onwards, Seine-et-Marne, from15 December onwards and Calvados (Lisieux city and Thury Harcourt village and their surroundings), from 15 December onwards.

Although the risk to humans from this incident is considered low, the HPA says GPs and other health care professionals should be vigilant in assessing people who report dog bites which occurred in the affected French regions. 

Doctors are also asked to check records to review and reassess any cases who have previously presented with dog bites after travelling to the affected areas, who may have been reassured that there was no risk of rabies in France.

Dr David Brown , a rabies expert at the HPA, said: “The risk to UK travellers is considered low; nonetheless we are advising anyone who has had significant contact with dogs such as having been bitten, scratched or licked around the eyes, mouth or on an open wound, during a stay in the affected French regions, to seek prompt medical advice.

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