Spain has its first case of Rabies since 1975

Rabies returns to Spain for first time since 1975

A pit bull that attacked four children and an adult in central Spain was infected with rabies, marking the first recorded case of the disease on the Iberian Peninsula in almost four decades.

Fiona Govan By Fiona Govan, Madrid3:15PM BST 11 Jun 2013

Authorities in Castile-La Mancha have declared a state of high alert and ordered the compulsory vaccination of all dogs and cats within a 18 mile radius of where the attacks took place.

The owner of the dog has been arrested for several counts of criminal negligence resulting in injury and for failing to have the correct license for a dangerous breed.

It is thought he deliberately doctored veterinary records of the pit bull-cross after bringing it into Spain from Morocco.

The dog bit three children, aged two, six and twelve, as well as a 17-year old male in the village of Arges, near Toledo, early this month. It was immediately destroyed and was confirmed to have been rabid following tests on Monday. All were discharged after being given rabies innoculations, apart from the two-year-old who was kept in hospital after being bitten in the face.

The regional government has ordered all cats, dogs and ferrets in the danger zone to be vaccinated against the disease within fifteen days. Some 60,000 dogs in 56 villages are thought to be at risk.

“We have also forbidden dogs to be allowed off the lead in public spaces until the danger has passed,” confirmed Tirso Yuste, head of the regional Agriculture department.

At least seven dogs have already been identified as having high levels of rabies and have been put in quarantine for one month.

Mainland Spain was officially declared rabies free in 1975 after successful campaigns to stamp out the disease. There have been occasional examples recorded in Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, cities on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast.

It is understood that the rabid pit bull cross was bred in Spain but spent four months in Morocco, only returning within the last month.

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