A rare case of rabies has been detected in a dog in the Paris region which had bitten several people, the French agriculture ministry announced Thursday.
“The Pasteur Institute confirmed a case of rabies in a Husky-cross dog held in a shelter in Evry-Courcouronnes in Essonne,” south of the French capital, the statement said.
Before being isolated, the infected dog had “bitten several people who were quickly taken care of by the Pasteur Institute’s anti-rabies centre, which administered a highly effective post-exposure prophylactic treatment”, the ministry added.
Other people identified as having been exposed to the animal are also receiving treatment if necessary, the ministry said.
France has officially been rabies-free since 2001, except the type carried by bats, but the deadly disease continues to circulate in many countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, where dogs are responsible for the majority of cases of transmission to humans, according to the French agriculture ministry’s website.
The dog identified in this case first developed signs of the disease on October 19 and died on October 25.
During the entire contagious period the dog remained alone in a kennel or in a recreation room, after contracting rabies before its arrival at the shelter, the authorities said.
Initial investigations indicate that the dog may have been “illegally imported from Morocco, a country where rabies is endemic,” the authorities said.
The contamination of humans occurs through saliva when an infected animal bites, or though scratching or via mucus from the nose or eye.
The disease is not transmitted between humans.
No person has been contaminated in mainland France since 1924.