A woman being treated for rabies after being bitten by a dog has died. The woman, believed to be in her 50s, was reportedly turned away twice by doctors at Darent Valley Hospital in Kent, before she was finally diagnosed. She was being treated in London after being bitten in South East Asia.
"We regret to announce that a patient being treated for rabies by the Hospitalfor Tropical Diseases and colleagues at University College Hospital died overthe weekend. We will not be releasing any further details, nor will the family be making any statements. Our sincere condolences go out to them."
– Statement from University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Rabies is usually transferred through saliva from the bite of an infected
animal, with dogs being the most common transmitter of rabies to humans.
More than 55,000 people are estimated to die from the disease every year, withmost cases occurring in developing countries, particularly South and South-EastAsia.The hospital previously reassured patients, visitors and staff there was norisk to them as a result of the case.
An investigation has started after doctors at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford failed to diagnose rabies in a woman patient. This report from Tom Savvides contains an interview with the MP Gareth Collins and Dr Brain McCloskey from the Health Protection Agency.
Darent Valley Hospital has issued this statement after reports it failed at first to diagnose one its patients had rabies:
"The UK is rabies free. If a patient does present at hospital with vague symptoms a doctor is unlikely to consider rabies as a diagnosis unless the patient highlights wild animal contact in an at risk country. The hospital responded to the information supplied by the patient at the time.
"Although there are no cases of rabies being passed through human-to-human contact, the five members of staff that came into close contact with the patient are being vaccinated as a precautionary measure.
"We have launched an investigation into the circumstances around this lady’s attendance at the emergency department and we are working closely with the Health Protection Agency."