New Zealand’s Ministry of Health have confirmed the country has had its first case of rabies.
An overseas traveller died from the disease last week, but the person posed no health risk to any member of the public while in New Zealand, the Ministry said.
The disease was contracted overseas and the person was diagnosed in New Zealand.
The person was told they had suspected rabies when first admitted to hospital in early March, and was managed with full infection control measures while at Whangarei Hospital and later when they were transferred to Auckland City Hospital.
New Zealand does not have rabies in its animal or human populations, and this case does not change the nation’s rabies-free status, the Ministry added.
“Travellers should be aware, however, that there are thousands of rabies cases reported in humans around the world each year, including a number of countries in our part of the world,” Director of Public Health Dr Nick Jones said.
Rabies is usually caught when a person is bitten by an infected animal and passes through saliva.
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If the person does not seek treatment between being bitten and the development of symptoms, then rabies is usually fatal.
Rabies vaccination is recommended for New Zealanders travelling to countries where the disease is common, especially if travelling to rural areas, are likely to be in contact with animals or if staying for longer than a month.
All travellers should avoid contact with animals, especially dogs, in countries with rabies.
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This article has been reproduced with permission from Stuff.co.nz.
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Last modified: November 16, 2022
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