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IP/04/1068

Brussels, 6 September 2004

Urgent: Europe-wide search for people who had contact with rabid dog in South-West France

At least eight people who had contact with the rabid dog found in South-West France in August (see IP/04/1050) are still being urgently sought by the French authorities. Some of these people seem to have been tourists from other EU countries (Netherlands, Spain) who might have since returned to their home countries but could also still be travelling. The owners of a number of dogs that had contact with the rabid animal are also being sought. Details of the people and animals being looked for are given below. All are at risk if they were bitten, licked or scratched by the infected dog. Rabies is fatal if not treated in time.

David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said: “I urge that this information is spread to a maximum. Some people are at risk of dying and we should put all our efforts into saving their lives”.

The infected dog, a young female pup that had been illegally imported into France, was confirmed as having rabies on 26 August. Between 2 and 21 August the dog is known to have had numerous contacts with people and animals in South West France. Some 300 people, all French, have so far contacted the authorities and 47 of these have been referred for anti-rabies treatment. Several people known to have had contact with the dog are still being sought. Europe-wide alerts have been issued using the EU’s Early Warning and Response System (EWRS) for infectious disease.

Details of the 8 people being looked for

  • A Dutch traveller whose nickname may have been Josephus and who may have come from Utrecht in the Netherlands. He met the infected dog and its owner on the quayside in Bordeaux in mid-August. The Dutch public health authorities have been informed.
  • A boy of 8-10 years old who played with the infected dog the evening of 12 August between 21h45 and 23h30 during a show by the « Théâtre GROUP » theatre company in the car park and RIALTO at the Fest’Art festival in Libourne (Gironde)
  • two children (a boy and a girl of about 5 ) accompanied by their parents - one French, the other of North African origin - who played with the infected dog one evening in August (around 22h00-24h00) on the quayside in front of Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux
  • a young woman who spoke French with a strong Spanish accent and her daughter who were out walking a small white dog, probably a West Highland / White Terrier, at Bordeaux Lac the 10 and 11 August. The owner of the infected dog was playing boules when they came into contact with it.

Details of the dogs that had contact with the rabid animal

  • a white female dog the size of a big labrador that was bitten by the rabid animal one morning between 18 and 20 August on the quayside opposite the Jardin Botanique in Bordeaux
  • a large three coloured male dog of the type « croisé berger allemand / beauceron » that was bitten by the rabid animal during the Fest’Art festival in Libourne between 12 and 14 August 2004.
  • A small grey « caniche» that played with the infected dog in the camping car / caravan car park opposite the Isle de Pirigueux during the Mimos festival in Périgueux (Dordogne)

The above people, and the owners of the animals mentioned above, are urged to contact the Préfecture of Gironde on (+33) (0)5 56 90 6000. Anyone else who thinks they may have had contact with the infected dog should also contact the above number. Alternatively one can seek the advice of a nearby doctor or/and veterinarian.

Further information

Detailed information in English about this case of rabies is available at:

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2004/040902.asp#1

Detailed information in French about this case of rabies is available at:

http://www.invs.sante.fr/communication/index_cp.htm

For further information about the EU’s Early Warning System see:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_threats/com/comm_diseases_en.htm


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