sábado, 15 de junho de 2013

Rabies returns to Spain for first time since 1975

A pit bull that attacked 4 children and an adult in central Spain was infected with rabies, marking the 1st recorded case of the disease on the Iberian Peninsula in almost 4 decades.
A pit bull terrier.
Authorities in Castile-La Mancha [province] have declared a state of high alert and ordered the compulsory vaccination of all dogs and cats within an 18 mile [about 29 km] radius of where the attacks took place. 

The owner of the dog has been arrested for several counts of criminal negligence resulting in injury, and for failing to have the correct license for a dangerous breed. It is thought that he deliberately doctored veterinary records of the pit bull cross after bringing it into Spain from Morocco.

The dog bit 3 children, aged 2, 6 and 12, as well as a 17 year old boy in the village of Arges, near Toledo [Castile-La Mancha province], early this month [June 2013]. It was immediately destroyed and was confirmed to have been rabid following tests on Monday [10 Jun 2013]. All were discharged after being given rabies inoculations, apart from the 2 year old, who was kept in hospital after being bitten in the face.

The regional government has ordered all cats, dogs, and ferrets in the danger zone to be vaccinated against the disease within 15 days. Some 60 000 dogs in 56 villages are thought to be at risk. "We have also forbidden dogs to be allowed off the lead in public spaces until the danger has passed," confirmed Tirso Yuste, head of the regional Agriculture department.

At least 7 dogs have already been identified as having high levels of rabies [see comment] and have been put in quarantine for one month.

Mainland Spain was officially declared rabies free in 1975 after successful campaigns to stamp out the disease. There have been occasional examples recorded in Spain's North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, cities on Morocco's Mediterranean coast.

It is understood that the rabid pit bull cross was bred in Spain but spent 4 months in Morocco, only returning within the last month [sometime between 11 May 2013 and 10 Jun 2013].


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