Rabies in a cat in Italy

14 July 2020

Article: 54/2803

Public Health England (PHE) has reported that a cat in the town of Arezzo in Tuscany, Italy, has been diagnosed with rabies caused by a bat lyssavirus (West Caucasian bat lyssavirus). The cat became unwell and was diagnosed on 27 June 2020 by the National Reference Centre for Rabies in Italy.

Advice for travellers 

  • Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection. 
  • All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies, and are 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. 
  • An effective rabies vaccination, which can be used pre- and post-exposure, is available and prevents clinical rabies developing. Rabies is invariably fatal once symptoms develop.

Further information on rabies, including vaccination and post-exposure advice, can be accessed on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.

Source: TRAVAX, 7 July 2020