Movement of dogs between rabies-endemic and rabies-free countries carries the inherent risk of introducing the disease. In April of 2008, a juvenile dog was imported to the UK from Sri Lanka. It died shortly after transfer to a quarantine facility in the south-east of England following a short history of diarrhoea and convulsions but no overt signs of aggression. Subsequent investigation confirmed that rabies was the cause of death. Rabies virus was isolated from brain samples taken from the dog and the subsequent phylogenetic investigation confirmed that the genomic sequence from this virus shared over 99% homology with endemic rabies viruses from Sri Lanka. Histological examination of the brain demonstrated clear signs of encephalitis and rabies antigenic labeling in numerous neurons. In this particular case, Negri bodies were absent. As this case was diagnosed in a quarantine facility, the ‘rabies-free’ status of the UK was un-affected.
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