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Second rabies case investigated after patient sent home from Darent Valley Hospital twice

Darent Valley Hospital
Darent Valley Hospital

The woman was sent home by medics at Darent Valley Hospital

A possible new case of rabies is being investigated - after a patient critically ill with the disease was sent home from a Kent hospital TWICE.

The Health Protection Agency has confirmed another person is being tested for the potentially-fatal condition.

It comes after an investigation was launched at Darent Valley Hospital when it emerged a grandmother was sent home twice from A&E before being diagnosed.

The woman, in her 50s, went to the Dartford hospital twice within four days. She was sent home by medics both times.

Five members of hospital staff who came into close contact with the patient have since been vaccinated.

The woman contracted rabies after being bitten by a dog in South Asia (File picture)
The woman contracted rabies after being bitten by a dog in South Asia (File picture)

She was only sent to hospital when she went back to her GP last Friday.

The woman is now being treated at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London.

She contracted rabies two months ago after being bitten by a dog while on holiday in India, but only developed symptoms within the last fortnight.

A Darent Valley Hospital spokesman said: "The UK is rabies free. If a patient does present at hospital with vague symptoms a doctor is unlikely to consider rabies as a diagnosis unless the patient highlights wild animal contact in an at-risk country. The hospital responded to the information supplied by the patient at the time.

"Although there are no cases of rabies being passed by human-to-human contact, the five members of staff that came into close contact with the patient are being vaccinated as a precautionary measure.

"We have launched an investigation into the circumstances around this lady’s attendance at the emergency department and we are working closely with the Health Protection Agency."

The patient, who lives in London, is believed to be of Indian ethnic origin.

It is the first case of rabbies in England in nearly seven years.

The Health Protection Agency said the case case does not mean there is a risk to the public.

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