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article imageFirst case of rabies in France for 12 years prompts alert

By Robert Myles     Nov 1, 2013 in Health
Argenteuil - France’s Ministries of Agriculture and Health issued an alert Thursday, Oct. 31 after a kitten was found to be suffering from rabies in a suburb of Paris.
The rabid animal was discovered in the town of Argenteuil in Val d’Oise department north of Paris. It was the first case of rabies confirmed in France since 2001.
The Pasteur Institute, which carried out testing on the kitten, confirmed the presence of rabies, Thursday. The kitten, described as colored white, black and tan and being about two months old, had been found on Oct. 25 and died on Oct. 28.
An epidemiological survey has been undertaken to identify and treat anyone who may have been in contact with the kitten between Oct. 8 and Oct. 28 inclusive, the period when the kitten would have been able to transmit the disease.
Five people, already identified as having been in contact with the kitten, have received preventative treatment at a rabies clinic but the French government departments concerned have issued an alert that anyone who suspects they may have been bitten, scratched or licked by the kitten should telephone 08 11 00 06 95 so they may receive emergency treatment.
An alert has also been issued to trace the owner of the kitten, as well as its mother and any other kittens which may be part of the same litter. With France having been rabies-free since 2001, the French Ministries of Agriculture and Health have concluded that the kitten, or its mother, must have been imported into France from a non-rabies free country, reports Le Monde.
According to World Health Organization figures, rabies is estimated to kill 55,000 people worldwide annually. Thanks to vaccination programs, France, along with a number of other European countries, was declared rabies-free some years ago. The last non-imported case of rabies in the French countryside occurred in 1998, according to ANSES, the French agency for food, environmental and occupational health safety.
Since 1970, there have been just 20 cases of rabies being transmitted to humans in France. In each case, infection was the result of contamination outwith France.
But in any case of suspected rabies, speed is the key to effective treatment. Left untreated, the mortality from rabies is 100 percent. The disease is transmissible for 15 days after the first symptoms become apparent in an infected animal. Provided treatment is administered promptly after first contact with an infected animal and before the first symptoms appear in a human, then countering the disease is very effective.
More about Rabies, treatment of rabies, rabies in France, rabies free countries, Quarantine
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