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Rabies (Canine) in Spain

10 Jun 2013

On 6 June 2013, animal health officials reported a case of canine rabies in a family pet in Toledo, Castile-La Mancha in central Spain. The dog had been living in Morocco with its owners and two other family pet dogs and returned to Spain on 13 April 2013.

The dog's behaviour changed on 20 May and on 1 June 2013, the dog was destroyed after biting four children, one adult and another dog. Rabies was confirmed by the National Reference Laboratory, Health Institute Carlos III.

Control measures include: quarantine, vaccination in response to the outbreak and disinfection of infected premises.

Advice for Travellers

Spain is classified as a no risk country for terrestrial rabies and the rabies advice is unchanged. However, Ceuta and Melilla, two autonomous cities of Spain on the north coast of north Africa, surrounded by Morocco, are classified as high risk. The city of Ceuta is very close to mainland Spain; separated only by the Strait of Gibraltar.

Travellers should be aware of the potential for importation of rabies virus from Morocco to Spain. Pre-exposure prophylaxis is not recommended for most travellers to Spain. Animal contact should be avoided and any animal bites sustained should be reported promptly for medical assessment.