Failure to administer prompt post exposure treatment lead to death of man bitten by rabid cat

An inquest into the death of Omar Zouhri, who died after being bitten by a rabid cat while on holiday in Morocco, came to the conclusion that despite the man’s best efforts he had not received proper and prompt exposure treatment (ironically ‘PET’) in Morocco which is probably the main cause of his death.

Man infected with rabies
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Omar Zouhri – the last photo. Photo: Mirrorpix.

I wrote about this gentleman some time ago. Mr Zouhri contracted rabies on August 31 in the northern city of Meknes, Morocco, when a stray cat lept at him biting his right ring finger. The inquest heard that the same cat had bitten six other people within half an hour biting Mr Zouhri, including a boy who later died.

Zouhri immediately went to hospital in Morocco where both he and his 12-year-old son were given tetanus injections. He was not given proper treatment for rabies at that time and complained to a local police station. This appears to be the defect in his postexposure treatment which ultimately led to his death.

In eary October after he’d returned to England he was told about the boy’s death by a Moroccan doctor and he went to Stoke Mandeville Hospital on October 5.

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At this hospital he was not given treatment for five days. Extraordinarily, it transpired that a nurse had spoken to a doctor at the hospital (a registrar) who, she claims, told her that rabies came from dogs and not from cats. The nurse had not known of the hospital’s policy that a person who had been bitten by suspected rabid animal should be reported and managed urgently. In addition a microbiologist should be contacted.

Zouhri was flagged as a high-risk patient by Public Health England and was given treatment for rabies from October 12. He felt fine until October 27 but by October 30 he was in severe pain. In an another extraordinary step, he went to his GP, out of hours, on October 28 complaining that his finger itched and was advised to apply an anti-itch cream.

The rabies virus had by then ended his central nervous system rendering his condition terminal. He died on November 4 at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

“It seems unlikely that a five-day delay is causative but it remains a possibility that if the vaccine had been given five days earlier there may have been a different outcome.”

He was infected with “furious rabies”. This disease was eradicated in the UK in 1902.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease. Below are some articles on zoonotic diseases:

Source: Time newspaper – hard copy.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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