New Zealand revealed its first-ever case of rabies on Thursday, saying the viral illness killed a patient who caught it overseas, but there was no risk to the public.
Doctors applied “
all infection control measures
” in the two hospitals where the patient was treated, first in Whangarei (north) then in the neighboring city of Auckland, said the Ministry of Health .
Transmission of rabies from person to person is extremely rare, almost unknown, and therefore there is no risk to the public
,” the ministry said in a statement.
Rabies is usually transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal that bites someone.
Call for caution for travelers
The patient, whose identity has not been released, was suspected of having the disease when he was admitted to hospital in early March.
The lab results later confirmed it was the first-ever case of rabies in New Zealand, which has a population of five million.
New Zealand does not have rabies in its animal or human populations, and this case does not affect our status as a rabies-free country
," the Department of Health said.
Travellers should be aware, however, that thousands of human cases of rabies are reported each year worldwide, including in a number of countries in our region,
” said Director of Public Health Nick Jones. .
He urged people to get vaccinated before traveling to countries where rabies is common.