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Rabies in a Norwegian Visitor to the Philippines

13 May 2019

Media quoting the Norwegian Institute of Public Health report a 24-year-old woman has died of rabies in western Norway, after being bitten by a puppy while on holiday in the Philippines. The woman became unwell about 2 months after returning from the Philippines and died on 11th May 2019.

According to family members, neither the woman nor her travelling companions had been vaccinated against rabies.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection.

  • Rabies is a most dangerous infectious diseases. There is no recognised treatment once symptoms begin and with the exception of a tiny number of cases, those who develop symptoms of rabies will die.

  • An effective rabies vaccination is available.

  • All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies and advised to avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic), particularly dogs and cats.

  • Children are more vulnerable to rabies than adults as they are less likely to comprehend the risk of animal contact, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.

  • All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately if bitten or scratched by an animal.

For further information (including post-exposure advice) see Rabies.