The new Eurosurveillance website is almost here.

Eurosurveillance is on the updated list of the Directory of Open Access Journals and in the SHERPA/RoMEO database. Read more here.

On 6 June 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) published updates to its ‘Essential Medicines List’ (EML). Read more here.

Follow Eurosurveillance on Twitter: @Eurosurveillanc

In this issue

Home Eurosurveillance Weekly Release  2000: Volume 4/ Issue 28 Article 1
Back to Table of Contents

Eurosurveillance, Volume 4, Issue 28, 13 July 2000

Citation style for this article: Ekdahl K, Grandien M. A case of rabies diagnosed in Sweden. Euro Surveill. 2000;4(28):pii=1567. Available online:

A case of rabies diagnosed in Sweden

A case of rabies was recently diagnosed in Sweden. The patient, a 19 year old girl, spent some of her time in Sweden and some with her family in Thailand. In March 2000 (while in Thailand), one of the family’s dogs, a puppy, strayed for a day and returned with bite wounds. Several members of the family, but mainly the 19 year old girl, took care of the puppy, which died within two weeks. The girl had been in contact with the wounds of the dog, but it is unclear if she was actually bitten.

After returning to Sweden, the girl was referred to hospital in mid June with a urinary tract infection. An intravenous urogram was performed, venous access being obtained in her right arm. On June 20, three days later, she visited her doctor with paraesthesia in her right hand. The next day she had more severe paraesthesia in her right arm, was increasingly agitated, and developed ‘hydrophobia’. On June 22, she suffered a circulatory collapse and was put on mechanical ventilation. The patient died 19 days after the onset of symptoms.

Rabies virus was isolated from the patient’s saliva (collected on the ninth day after the onset of symptoms) in murine neuroblastoma cell cultures and its presence was confirmed by immunofluorescence the following day. Investigation by immunofluorescence of cell smears prepared from a hair follicle biopsy on day 6 was positive, but corneal imprints (day 9) were negative. Rabies virus antibodies could not be detected by rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test in serum collected on day 6, day 9, and day 13.

Sweden is free of rabies. Only one human case, a photographer bitten by a dog in India in 1974, has been diagnosed in Sweden in the past 50 years. As soon as the diagnosis was suspected, the rest of the family (also in Sweden at that time) was immunised against rabies. Although person to person transmission has not been documented, the hospital staff who had been in direct contact with the girl were, after discussion, also immunised.

Reported by Karl Ekdahl ( and Monica Grandien (, Department of Epidemiology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), Solna, Sweden. Based on report on Smittskyddsinstitutet website (

back to top

Back to Table of Contents

The publisher’s policy on data collection and use of cookies.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by authors contributing to Eurosurveillance do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) or the editorial team or the institutions with which the authors are affiliated. Neither ECDC nor any person acting on behalf of ECDC is responsible for the use that might be made of the information in this journal. The information provided on the Eurosurveillance site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Our website does not host any form of commercial advertisement. Except where otherwise stated, all manuscripts published after 1 January 2016 will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. You are free to share and adapt the material, but you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.

Eurosurveillance [ISSN] - ©2007-2016. All rights reserved

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.