23 October 2012
Rabies detected in a fox in northern Greece
On 19 October 2012, the Greek Ministry of Rural Development and Food reported a case of animal rabies to the World Organisation for Animal Health .
The case occurred in a red fox which was killed after being discovered behaving abnormally in the Western Macedonia region of northern Greece. The fox subsequently tested positive for rabies. This is the first case of animal rabies to be reported in Greece since 1987.
Western Macedonia borders the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, both of which are considered high-risk for rabies.
Advice for travellers
The risk of rabies to travellers to Greece remains very low and rabies pre-exposure vaccine is not recommended. Western Macedonia is not a major tourist destination, however, UK travellers are advised to avoid contact with wild and domestic animals.
Should any traveller experience an animal bite, scratch, or lick, they should seek urgent medical advice to assess the risk of rabies, either in Greece or on return to the UK, from their GP or NHS Direct.
Following an animal bite, wounds should be thoroughly cleansed and a medical assessment sought, even if the wound appears trivial. Prompt post-exposure rabies treatment may be necessary, even if pre-exposure rabies vaccine has been received.
Expert advice for health professionals on rabies post exposure management is available from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) Virus Reference Laboratory (020 8200 4400) or the duty doctor at the HPA Centre for Infections (020 8200 6868).
Specific health advice for travellers to Greece can be found on the NaTHNaC Country Information Page.
1. World Organisation for Animal Health. Rabies, Greece. 19 October 2012. [Accessed 23 October 2012]. Available at: http://www.oie.int/wahis_2/public/wahid.php/Reviewreport/