RABIES (31): EUROPE (SPAIN) ANIMAL, ALERT
Date: Mon 18 Jul 2022
Source: The Olive Press [abridged, summ., edited]
Antonio Villatoro, the president of the Royal Academy of Veterinary Sciences of Eastern Andalucia, warned last Friday, 15 Jul 2022, about the danger of rabies in Malaga province. He also called on doctors to be more vigilant in cases where patients have been bitten by cats or dogs.
Border officials who control the entry of such pets into the country should also take extra care, he added. He highlighted the recent influx of Ukrainian refugees -- many who brought their pets – along with the presence of pets from Morocco due to Operation Crossing the Strait [see comment]. Both countries have cases of rabies, he pointed out.
Veterinarians should urge scrupulous compliance with anti-rabies vaccination, said Villatoro, because there is the risk of instances of this disease rising in the province. As he explained, once a person is bitten by a rabid animal, they can die if they are not treated in time.
The Malaga Veterinary College pointed out that in the last 6 months there have been 13 cases of dogs with rabies in Melilla, and that in Morocco -- a country very close to Malaga -- this disease is endemic.
[byline: Cristina Hodgson]
[Spain (peninsular territory and islands) has been free of terrestrial rabies since 1978, with the exception of a case imported from Morocco in June 2013 (ProMED post
http://promedmail.org/post/20130607.1760455). Only in Spain's Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla, on North Africa's coast, are there sporadically imported cases of rabies, in dogs and some horses.
A remarkable Morocco-sourced rabies event with international impact was recorded in 2012. It involved a puppy brought by Dutch tourists returning from Morocco. They tried to import the dog in a legal way, yet the international legislations were not followed properly by the veterinarians consulted in Morocco and Spain and customs in Spain and
the Netherlands. A total of 48 known contacts in 3 different countries needed to be traced, of whom 45 required post-exposure treatment. Including the imported dog, 3 animals were euthanised (more detail in ProMED post http://promedmail.org/post/20120310.1066836).
For background and additional information, including a link to Spain's National Surveillance Program for Rabies in animals, subscribers are referred to Mod.CRD's commentary in ProMED post http://promedmail.org/post/20211024.8699231.
The current alertness is buffered by Operation Crossing the Strait (OPE). After 2 years of border closure between Morocco and Spain due to the COVID-19 crisis, this year  a record number of passengers and vehicles are expected. This week, 700 000 passengers and 170 000 vehicles travelled to North Africa from 7 Spanish ports, involving 7 shipping companies and 33 boats delivering people and cars. OPE spans
the entire summer, departures from Spain's harbours carried out in June-July, returns performed during August and September.
Preventing the transboundary introduction of non-certified pets, including puppies and kittens, which have been collected during the vacation in North Africa, is warranted. - Mod.AS
ProMED map of Spain:
Rabies (23): Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe), Europe (Spain), human,
Rabies (08): Europe (Spain) dog, human exp
Rabies (38): Europe (Spain) dog, OIE
Rabies (37): Europe (Spain) dog, OIE
Rabies (01): Europe (Spain) dog, OIE
Rabies (35): Europe (Spain) dog, OIE
Rabies - Spain (03): (CM) ex Morocco, travel alert
Rabies - Spain (02): (CM) ex Morocco, canine, human exp
Rabies - Spain: (CM) ex Morocco, canine, OIE
Rabies - Netherlands (03): (Amsterdam) canine ex Morocco