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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rabies (Feline) in France

04 Nov 2013

The media has reported on a case of rabies virus infection in France. A 2-month-old stray kitten with signs of the infecton was found in Argenteuil, Val-d'Oise department near Paris on 25 October 2013. The kitten died 3 days later.

The French Ministry of Agriculture has begun an investigation and a media release has been issued to try and identify anyone who had contact with the kitten as they may be at risk of rabies. Five individuals have received rabies post-exposure prophylaxis as a precaution. The authorities would also like to locate the mother cat and the rest of the litter as they are also likely to be infected.

It is thought likely that the kitten has been imported to France from North Africa where animal rabies is common. France is considered by WHO to be a 'no risk' country for rabies. In 2008, France lost its 'no risk' status for 2 years following the importation of a rabies infected dog from Morocco.

Advice for Travellers

France is considered by WHO as a 'No Risk' country for rabies, the status and vaccination recommendations remain unchanged. Travellers should always report any bite (including bats) for proper medical assessment.