News story

Rabies in Spain: update 19 June 2013

A dog in the city of Toledo, central Spain was confirmed to have rabies on 5 June 2013.

The dog had travelled to Morocco with 2 other family dogs, returning in April 2013. It was responsible for attacking several people including children in Toledo on 1 June. Later that day it was captured and euthanised.

Further information about this incident has been received from the Spanish authorities regarding the movements of the dog prior to the incident in Toledo. The areas of increased risk are now considered to be:

  • A perimeter of 20-km radius around the city of Toledo, Region of Castilla-La Mancha
  • The province of Huesca, Region of Aragón
  • The provinces of Girona and Barcelona, including Barcelona city, Region of Catalonia

Anyone who has been bitten, licked or scratched by a dog in these areas of Spain since 1 May 2013 is urged to seek medical advice.

There is no change to the rabies risk in other areas of Spain.

Spain had previously been free of rabies since 1978.

UK travellers are being advised the following:

Those travelling to the new risk areas of Spain above should avoid contact with wild and domestic animals. If they are licked, scratched or bitten by a wild or domestic animal they should wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and seek urgent medical advice either in Spain, or on their return from their GP or NHS Direct.


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 including a map of the areas affected
  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 or follow us on Twitter @PHE_uk.

Infections press office

PHE press office, infections
61 Colindale Avenue

Image courtesy Jim Wallace under creative commons license