A Briton who died after being bitten by a cat with rabies while in Morocco “did not receive the vaccine until it was too late”, it has emerged.
Public Health England (PHE) issued a warning to travellers after the resident contracted the disease after being bitten by a rabid cat.
It is understood that the person was bitten a few weeks ago and was not given immediate, potentially life-saving, treatment.
Prompt care, including wound cleaning and a course of the rabies vaccine, is very effective and can save an infected person’s life.
It is believed that the Briton sought care both in Morocco and when at home.
Professor Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “My understanding is that this is somebody who had contact with a cat that was behaving abnormally and sought care, I believe in Morocco and in the UK, but unfortunately didn’t receive vaccination until it was too late.
“I believe that the cat bit this person a few weeks ago.”
He added: “The typical time interval (for symptoms to appear) is two to three months, so you do have enough time (to seek care).
“But it can be as short as a week and that’s why seeking prompt care and getting vaccination is so important.”
“In this tragic case the person didn’t get the vaccine in time.”