Rare case of canine rabies diagnosed near Paris

© AFP/Oli Scarff

A rare case of rabies has been detected in a dog held in a shelter in the Paris region. The animal had bitten several people who had to be taken to the Pasteur Institute's anti-rabies centre for treatment.

"The Pasteur Institute confirmed a case of rabies in a Husky-cross dog held in a shelter in Evry-Courcouronnes in Essonne," south of Paris, the French agriculture ministry announced Thursday.

Before being isolated, the infected dog had "bitten several people who were quickly taken care of by the Pasteur Institute's anti-rabies centre, which administered a highly effective post-exposure prophylactic treatment", the ministry added.

Other people identified as having been exposed to the animal are also receiving treatment if necessary, the ministry said.

The dog identified in this case first developed signs of the disease on 19 October and died on 25 October.

During the entire contagious period the dog remained alone in a kennel or in a recreation room, after contracting rabies before its arrival at the shelter, the authorities said.

Initial investigations indicate that the dog may have been "illegally imported from Morocco, a country where rabies is endemic."

France has been rabies-free since 2001

France has officially been rabies-free since 2001, except the type carried by bats, but the deadly disease continues to circulate in many countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, where dogs are responsible for the majority of cases of transmission to humans, according to the French agriculture ministry's website.

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