Health authorities are reporting the death of an individual in Norway from rabies. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the individual had recently returned from a trip to a Southeast Asian country where the person had been bitten by a dog. The individual gradually developed rabies symptoms and died two months later at the beginning of May.
The case is the first human case of rabies reported in Norway since 1815. However, the ECDC says up to four human cases of rabies have been reported annually in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in the past decade, mainly imported cases.
Human deaths from rabies have also been reported from Southeast Asian countries this year. Last month, authorities reported the first fatal case of rabies of the year in Thailand in an individual who had been bitten by a dog at the end of 2018.
The ECDC advises that at-risk groups for animal bites, such as travellers or professionals planning activities in remote areas, should be provided with an individual risk assessment for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Treatment should include local wound care, vaccination and passive immunisation with immunoglobulin if indicated. “To be effective, treatment has to be administered as soon as possible after exposure,” it adds.