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Rabies in a Latvian Traveller returned from Asia

10 Dec 2019

Latvian public health authorities have reported (in Latvian) a fatal case of rabies in December 2019. Rabies is not usually present in Latvia and investigations indicated that the patient had previously travelled to Asia where she had suffered an animal bite. Testing showed she was infected with a rabies virus of a type circulating in Asia.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in an areas where rabies is present poses a potential risk of infection through bites or scratches.

  • Rabies is the most dangerous of all infectious diseases. There is no recognised treatment once symptoms begin and with the exception of a tiny number of cases, those who develop symptoms of rabies will die.

  • An effective rabies vaccination is available.

  • All travellers to areas where there is rabies 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 comprehend the risk of animal contact, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.

  • All travellers to areas where there is rabies should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately if bitten or scratched by an animal.

For further information including vaccination and post-exposure advice, see Rabies.