Rabid puppies in Netherlands

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Two puppies, imported from Bulgaria, had rabies. The dogs were euthanized last weekend, reported the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) Tuesday.The 48 people who have had high risk contact with the dogs, are vaccinated if necessary.

Rabies can be transmitted when an infected dog bites a human, but the virus can also be transmitted by licking, for instance when a dog licks a hand with broken skin.


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One dog lived in Zaandam, the other in Rotterdam. The Rotterdam dog had bitten someone in the finger. Subsequent investigation showed it had rabies. Research by the Public Health Service found the dog had been in contact with 34 people. Some of these people are being treated.

Meanwhile, 14 people who came in contact with the Zaandam dog, were vaccinated against rabies. They received the first of five vaccines, according to George Neve, physician at the GGD Zaanstreek-Waterland. The five vaccines are spread over a period of 4 weeks.

Neve does not exclude eventually more people will show up who came in contact with the puppies, so more people might need to be vaccinated. Without treatment, rabies is fatal in humans.

The NVWA is still looking for animals that the dogs, who came from the same litter, have been in contact with. They can also be infected. The dogs came from a shelter in Bulgaria.

Rabies is quite rare in the Netherlands. The last case was in February 2012. According to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) four cases of rabies in humans were established in the past: in 1962, 1996, 2008 and 2012.

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