News story

Rabies in Spain

According to information from the public health authorities in Spain, a dog in the city of Toledo, central Spain was confirmed to have rabies on 5 June 2013.

Dog snarling
Dog snarling

Reports suggest the dog, which had travelled to Morocco with 2 other family dogs was responsible for attacking several people including children in Toledo, Spain, on 1 June. Later that day it was captured and euthanised.

Based on the current available information, anyone who has been bitten, licked or scratched by a dog within 20km of the city of Toledo since mid-May is urged to seek urgent medical advice.

Spain has been free of rabies since 1978. There is no change to the rabies risk in other areas of Spain at present, but further information is being sought from the Spanish authorities about this incident and the PHE rabies incident page will be updated as this becomes available.

Dr Hilary Kirkbride, a rabies expert at Public Health England, said:

Although the animal has been destroyed, UK travellers are being advised if travelling to Spain to avoid contact with wild and domestic animals. If they are bitten, scratched, or licked by a wild or domestic animal they should wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and urgently seek medical advice either in Spain, or on their return from their GP or NHS 111.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. Although in the UK rabies has been eliminated from the animal population, it continues to infect a variety of mammals in many parts of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. Dogs and cats, due to their high level of contact with the human population and likelihood to bite, are the main risk to humans.
  2. Further information on rabies (including country specific advice)
  3. PHE rabies incident webpage
  4. Healthcare professionals and members of the public can find more information about rabies and travel health by logging onto the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) website
  5. Public Health England is a new executive agency of the Department of Health that took up its full responsibilities on 1 April, 2013. PHE works with national and local government, industry and the NHS to protect and improve the nation’s health and support healthier choices and will be addressing inequalities by focusing on removing barriers to good health. To find out more visit our website www.gov.uk/phe or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

Infections press office

PHE press office, infections
61 Colindale Avenue
London
NW9 5EQ

Image courtesy Jim Wallace under creative commons license

Published 7 June 2013