The Moroccan man had traveled in August to Morocco, where he was bitten by a cat and infected with rabies.
Rabat – A Moroccan man has died in Spain after receiving a diagnosis of rabies. The middle-aged man had traveled to Morocco, where a cat bit him, in August, reports Spanish news outlet El Pais.
The man presented symptoms of rabies when he was admitted to a hospital on Friday, December 6, near Bilbao in the autonomous Basque region of northern Spain.
Last week, on December 10, doctors at the University Hospital of Cruces confirmed through tests at the National Center for Microbiology at the Carlos III Health Institute that the man had rabies. The Moroccan died Friday evening, December 13, according to El Pais.
El Espanol reported that the man’s death was the first case of rabies in a human that the Basque region had seen in 30 years.
Once a person begins to notice the symptoms of rabies, chances of surviving the disease are extremely low. Symptoms of rabies, a disease usually transmitted from animal bites and scratches, can appear months or a year after the bite.
Rabies is present in 150 countries in the world, including Morocco, the World Health Organization says. There is a pre-exposure preventive vaccination for rabies that can be given to people at risk of being bitten. Post-bite vaccinations, given shortly after being bitten by an animal, save hundreds of thousands of lives each year, the WHO estimates.
The rabies virus damages the central nervous system, creating “fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord,” according to the WHO. Often, victims of rabies display hyperactive behavior and die within a few days.
Just over a year ago, a British tourist died of rabies after being bitten in Morocco. In 2017, Morocco saw approximately 15 cases of people contracting rabies, down from 43 in 1985.