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Home Eurosurveillance Weekly Release  2003: Volume 7/ Issue 46 Article 5
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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 46, 13 November 2003

Citation style for this article: Human case of rabies in a child in France who had visited Gabon. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(46):pii=2327. Available online:

Human case of rabies in a child in France who had visited Gabon

Editorial team (, Eurosurveillance editorial office

A human case of rabies was reported by the Institut de Veille Sanitaire on 22 October 2003, in a three year old child who was admitted to hospital with encephalitis in the Lyon region, in the east of France. The child was very likely infected in August 2003, when he played with unvaccinated dogs during a visit to Gabon.

All the child’s contacts were informed by the local health authorities in the Rhône, and have had individual medical care at the antirabies centre in Lyon, in order to evaluate the necessity of antirabies vaccination. These measures were taken as a precaution since the risk of transmission cannot be completely excluded for those in close contact with the child, including the healthcare workers who treated him. However, no transmission between humans has ever been reported outside of a very few cases by corneal graft.

Since 1977, 19 cases of rabies have been seen in humans in France, all of whom contracted their infection in endemic areas outside France. The last authochthonous case in France was seen in 1924. This is a useful reminder that rabies cases continue to be imported into Europe from the many countries where rabies is still endemic in the animal population.

  1. Ministère de la santé, de la famille et des personnes handicapées, Direction Générale de la Santé. Un cas de rage dans le Rhône. Press release, 23 October 2003 ( [accessed 12 November 2003]

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