Tourist dies after being bitten by cat with rabies in 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

A British tourist has died after contracting rabies from a cat bite she received during a vacation in Morocco.

Public Health England (PHE) revealed the news alongside a renewed warning to travellers as to the risk of the potentially fatal disease - but offered no further information on the precise location of the case or the person concerned.

Health workers in Morocco and those close to the victim, who has not yet been named publicly, are being assessed for the disease and offered vaccinations if required.

While there is "no risk" to the wider public, the victim's family, friends and involved medical staff are being monitored and provided with vaccinations if necessary, the health agency said.

There are no documented instances of direct human to human transmission of rabies, it is usually passed on through bites or scratches from an infected animal.

Rabies does not circulate in either wild or domestic animals in Britain, although some species of bats can carry a rabies-like virus, said PHE.

One person acquired it from a bat in Scotland in 2002, and five people contacted while travelling between 2002 and 2017, the health service said.

Though not common in Ireland and the United Kingdom - there has not been a case of rabies in animals in Ireland since 1902 - rabies is common in other parts of the world, particularly Asia and Africa.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at PHE, said: "This is an important reminder of the precautions people should take when travelling to countries where rabies is present". The National Travel Health Network and Centre's website TravelHealthPro has information on the risk of rabies on its country information pages.

The infection is not found in United Kingdom animals except in a small number of wild bats. It's not airborne and can not be spread from human to human.

Thankfully, the condition is pretty rare, but once symptoms appear it is almost always fatal, and treatment usually consists of making the person as comfortable as possible.

What can start as a headache can progress into hallucinations, respitatory failure and spams in muscles used for swallowing.

Symptoms usually appear between three and 12 weeks after becoming infected.

If the condition is diagnosed before symptoms have appear, however, treatment is very effective.

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