May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Robin Cottle, Reporter
Thursday, June 14, 2012
A Bexley grandmother who died from rabies has been named as Sharnjit Ubhi.
The 58-year-old contracted the disease while on a holiday to India and was diagnosed at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich
She was transferred to the specialist tropical diseases unit at University College Hospital in central London where she died a week after being diagnosed.
Six of Mrs Ubhi’s relatives were among 20 people who were tested for the disease as a precaution but rabies is rarely transferred from human-to-human. She was bitten in India, nine weeks before her death on May 27.
Mrs Ubhi’s death has prompted a fresh travel warning from health professionals.
Dr Mary Warrell, a specialist in rabies, said: “In unvaccinated humans, dog rabies infection is 100 per cent fatal once symptoms appear.”
There have been 24 cases reported in the UK since 1946 and just five reported since 2000, of those three victims died.
The first 24 hours after being bitten by a rabid animal are critical. If a person does not receive treatment in that time period, they will probably die but their symptoms can take some time to appear.
Around 55,000 people die from rabies every year but the majority of those are in developing countries, particularly in south and south-east Asia and Africa.
The disease has only been contracted once in Britain since 1902. In 2002 a conservationist in Scotland died from a bat bite, even though dogs are the most common carrier of the illness.
An inquest was opened and adjourned into Mrs Ubhi’s death at St Pancras Coroner’s Court on May 29.