British holiday maker dies of rabies after dog bite in Goa

Health officials in the UK have confirmed that a woman who was bitten by a dog on her holiday in Goa, India, has died from rabies.

The 39-year-old victim, from Manchester, caught the virus when she was bitten by the stray animal; she became ill on her return to the UK and died in hospital on Saturday.

A Health Protection Agency spokesman has confirmed that there had been a recent death from rabies, which was contracted abroad, and has assured members of the public that they were not at risk.

All hospital staff in contact with the bite victim have been told of the death and offered inoculations as a precaution.

The woman was bitten on April 9, and was admitted to the Fairfield General Hospital in Bury after she returned from Goa and began to feel unwell.

As soon as hospital staff had diagnosed her condition as rabies, she was transferred to the Walton Centre in Liverpool, a centre for neurology and neurosurgery, but despite specialist treatment, she died from the disease.

According to the Health spokesman, as yet no-one else has contracted the disease and members of the public are not at risk.

There is apparently no record of rabies ever being passed from a patient to a healthcare worker.

Rabies, or "hydrophobia", is a viral infection which is passed on to humans in saliva when they are bitten by an infected animal.

Though infected dogs are the most common cause of humans catching the disease, it can also be transmitted by bites from infected monkeys and bats.

Although a vaccine which prevents the spread of rabies is available, it needs to be administered immediately following a bite, as by the time the symptoms actually appear they can often no longer be treated and nearly always lead to death.

In the initial stage of rabies, a patient may have a fever, and experience vomiting and loss of appetite, headache and pain at the site of the original bite.

Later, paralysis may occur and spasms in the throat develop, making swallowing difficult. The patient becomes terrified of water, anxious and hyperactive.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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