The rabies case confirmed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in a puppy in quarantine poses no risk to the general public, according to the Health Protection Agency.

Dr Dilys Morgan, a rabies expert from the Health Protection Agency, said:

"This animal died whilst in quarantine which has effectively contained any public health risk.

"We understand that three individuals who were bitten by the animal in the quarantine centre have received prompt protective treatment with appropriate vaccination and are well.

"Even if someone has been bitten by an animal with rabies, prompt post-exposure treatment following the bite is highly effective in preventing rabies."

Disease Background

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is extremely rare in the UK; the last case of classical rabies acquired in this country was a century ago, in 1902. Very occasionally cases occurring since then have all been acquired abroad, usually through dog bites. Transmission is usually through saliva via the bite of an infected animal; there are no documented cases of human-to-human transmission.

Further information on rabies is available from the Health Protection Agency website here.

Health Protection Agency

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