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Bat woman bitten.

A woman has received treatment after being bitten by a bat which, initial tests show, has a strain of rabies which can affect humans.

She was bitten on the hand and as a precaution has undergone 'post-exposure' treatment for the disease, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

The woman, a bat conservationist, was examined by infectious disease specialists after she was bitten at a premises in Lancashire on September 11. She did not appear to be suffering from rabies symptoms, officials said. But she was given a rabies vaccine and was treated in hospital for a short time and is now an outpatient. Nick Gent, a consultant with the department of health, said: 'We have identified five other people who had involvement in the handling of the bat and are beginning post-exposure treatment.' This incident would be only the second case of this strain of rabies being found in Britain if confirmed.

In 1996 a pregnant woman, Sheila Wright, and another woman, were both bitten on the hand by a bat carrying the strain.

There have been only two documented cases of humans dying after contracting this strain, with the last being in Finland in 1985. A Defra official said: 'If the public don't go near bats or handle them, they are not at risk.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 30, 2002
Words:218
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