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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rabies Virus Infection (Animal) (Human Exposure) USA

20 Sep 2016

Rabies virus infection continues to be reported in the United States of America (USA), resulting in human exposure to the virus. The media has highlighted rabies exposure in several states of the USA.

  • Pennsylvania, two separate human exposures to rabies from felines were reported in August 2016. Both of the exposed people have received post-exposure rabies vaccinations.
  • North Carolina, a five year old girl was attacked by a rabid fox on 4 September 2016. The girl has received medical treatment and post-exposure rabies vaccinations.
  • Massachusetts, two seperate human exposures; a person was bitten by a rabid fox on 5 September and a second unrelated person was attacked by a fox that same day. The fox from the first attack was destroyed, however, as it was unknown if the second attack was carried out by the same fox a city wide alert was issued to minimise residents exposure to rabies.

(Via ProMEDLink - accessed 20/9/16)

Advice for Travellers

Travellers should be aware that rabies virus circulates in terrestrial animals in much of the USA, (e.g. raccoons, bats and skunks) and they should avoid contact with wildlife. All animal bites should be reported and carefully assessed; post-exposure treatment is accessible in the USA.