A rabies patient dies in New Zealand

A rabies patient dies in New Zealand


TWhile New Zealand is trying to reassure itself, it revealed its first case of rabies on Thursday. Authorities said the viral disease killed a patient who contracted it abroad, but there was no danger to the public. The Ministry of Health said that doctors implemented “all infection control measures” in the two hospitals where the patient was treated, first in Whangarei (north) and then in neighboring Auckland.

The ministry said in a statement: “The transmission of rabies from one person to another is extremely rare and almost unheard of, and therefore there is no risk to the public.” Rabies is usually spread through the saliva of an infected animal that bites a person. Read alsoAvian influenza: the specter of a pandemicThe patient, whose identity has not been revealed, was suspected of having the disease when he was admitted to hospital in early March. Laboratory results later confirmed that this was the first case of rabies in New Zealand, which has a population of 5 million.

New Zealand calls for vaccination

“New Zealand does not have rabies in animals or humans, and this case does not change our status as a rabies-free country,” the Department of Health said. Director of Public Health Nick Jones said: “Travelers should be aware that thousands of cases of rabies in humans are reported every year around the world, including in a number of countries in our region.” He urged people to get vaccinated before traveling to countries where rabies is common.

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