French rabies alert renewed across Europe

6th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Sept 6 (AFP) - The European Commission renewed an urgent Europe-wide appeal Monday to find at least eight people who may have contracted rabies after a dog died of the highly contagious disease in France.

BRUSSELS, Sept 6 (AFP) - The European Commission renewed an urgent Europe-wide appeal Monday to find at least eight people who may have contracted rabies after a dog died of the highly contagious disease in France.  

The EU executive said they could include notably Dutch and Spanish tourists who were on holiday in August in southwest France, where the incident involving an illegally-imported dog occurred.  

In addition authorities want to trace dogs who may also have been infected, and could now be themselves carrying the rabies virus.  

"I urge that this information is spread to a maximum. Some people are at risk of dying and we should put all our efforts into saving their lives," said EU health commissioner David Byrne.  

The four-month-old dog was infectious from August 2-21 when it died, and spent time in the region including Bordeaux and a number of festivals in the Dordogne, Gironde and Lot and Garonne departments.  

The commission, which issued a first alert about the case last month, re-issued the warning and gave details of the people it believed could have been in contact with the dog.   

They included a Dutch traveller whose nickname may have been Josephus; an 8-10-year-old boy who played with the dog at a theatre show and two five-year-olds who played with it in central Bordeaux.  

Authorities are also seeking three dogs known to have been in contact with the rabid animal, including two that were bitten by it.   

"All are at risk if they were bitten, licked or scratched by the infected dog. Rabies is fatal if not treated in time," said a Commission statement.  

Rabies -- a fatal disease which attacks the nervous system and can paralyze the entire body -- is transmitted to people by dogs, cats, livestock and certain wild animals and birds.  

Since 1977, 19 cases of human rabies have been reported in France. All of those infected contracted the disease abroad. There are on average one to three rabies cases in the EU per year, officials say.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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