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Bexley woman dies from rabies

PUBLISHED: 13:10 29 May 2012

The patient from Bexley was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The patient from Bexley was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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A grandmother from Bexley has died from rabies after being bitten by a dog in India.

The woman, believed to be in her 50s, was reportedly turned away twice from Darrent Valley Hospital in Dartford before being referred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich by her GP.

She was then transferred to a specialist tropical diseases unit at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) but she died over the weekend.

A statement by South London Healthcare Trust, which owns the Woolwich hospital, said: “A patient attended the Emergency Department with possible rabies. She was later transferred to a specialist centre for infectious diseases where rabies was confirmed.

“As a precaution and on the advice of the Health Protection Agency, healthcare staff who have been in contact with the patient have been reassured, assessed and offered vaccination if appropriate.”

Queen Elizabeth assures patients, visitors and staff that they are not under risk of catching the disease.

Rabies is usually transferred from the bite of an infected animal and is rarely transferred from human to human.

Darrent Valley says it has launched an investigation into why the woman was not diagnosed but unless a patient says they have been bitten by an animal they will not test for rabies.

Her family have requested privacy according to UCLH.

Just 24 cases of rabies have been reported since 1946 and only five have occurred since 2000.

Almost all of the cases in Britain this century have been contracted from overseas, with the sole exception being a man who died from a bat bite in Scotland in 2002. Dogs are the most common transmitter of the disease.

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