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Rabies in a cat in Italy

07 July 2020

Public Health England have reported a cat in the town of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy has been diagnosed with rabies, caused by a bat lyssavirus (West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus). The cat became unwell and was diagnosed on 27 June 2020 by the National Reference Centre for Rabies in Italy.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection through bites, scratches or licks of broken skin or mucous membranes.

  • Travellers should be advised that rabies is a very dangerous infectious disease. There is no recognised treatment once symptoms begin and the vast majority of those who develop symptoms of rabies die.

  • An effective rabies vaccination is available.

  • All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies and advised to avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic), particularly dogs and cats.

  • Children are more vulnerable to rabies than adults as they are less likely to understand the risk of animal contact, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.

  • All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately, see Post-Exposure Rabies Advice.

  • For further information, including advice on pre-exposure vaccination, see Rabies.