The British man is bitten by a cat and dies from rabies

Illustration of a cat walking on a street. – QUINET JEAN MARC / ISOPIX / SIPA

A Brit died of rabies after being bitten by a cat in Morocco. The man was bitten a few weeks ago and would not have received immediate treatment, the public health agency Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday.

The symptoms of rabies in humans develop "two to three months" after contracting the virus, according to British professor Jimmy Whitworth. But the delay can be shorter, so it's "important to quickly look for care and be vaccinated," he adds.

Avoid animals and get vaccinated

Rabies "affects the nervous system, especially the brain, and ultimately causes complete paralysis and death," says Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology. In 2002, a man who had been bitten several times by a bat died from rabies, he remembers PHE. Between 2000 and 2017, five more Britons contracted rabies after being "exposed to an animal that had been infected abroad".

"Rabies is prevalent in some parts of the world, particularly in Asia and Africa," warned PHE. "All travelers to these countries should avoid contact with animals as much as possible and seek advice on the need for a vaccine prior to travel."

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