First recent U.K Rabies fatality

Woman with rabies dies at London hospital

28 May 2012 Last updated at 20:00

A woman who was being treated in London for rabies has died.

The woman – whose identity has not been revealed – was bitten by a dog in South Asia and died over the weekend.

She was being treated at London’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases after twice attending A&E at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

Meanwhile, it has emerged a patient in Leeds has sought medical help for a dog bite which occurred abroad. The two cases are not being linked.

Rabies can be transferred from the bite of an infected animal, with dogs being the most common transmitter to humans.

A statement from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We regret to announce that a patient being treated for rabies by the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and colleagues at University College Hospital died over the weekend.”

‘No link’

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into how the woman was turned away from the emergency department at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford.

A spokesman for the hospital previously said that as the UK is rabies-free, if a patient went to a hospital with vague symptoms, a doctor was unlikely to consider rabies as a diagnosis unless the patient highlighted wild animal contact in an at-risk country.

“The hospital responded to the information supplied by the patient at the time,” he said.

On Friday it was announced that a patient in Leeds had sought treatment for a possible case of rabies after they were bitten by a dog while abroad.

The Health Protection Agency said there were “no links” between the two cases.

More than 55,000 people are estimated to die from the disease every year, with most cases occurring in developing countries, particularly South and South-East Asia.

The hospital previously reassured patients, visitors and staff there was no risk to them as a result of the case.

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