A woman who was bitten by a dog during her holiday has died from rabies. The victim, from Bury in Greater Manchester, caught the viral infection after she was bitten by the stray animal in Goa, India, on 9 April. The 39-year-old fell ill when she returned to England and died in hospital last Saturday, health officials said yesterday.

A spokesman for the Health Protection Agency assured members of the public that they were not at risk and said that hospital staff had been offered vaccines as a precaution. The woman was admitted to the Fairfield general hospital in Bury after she returned from Goa and began to feel unwell. Once hospital staff had diagnosed her condition as rabies, she was transferred to the Walton Centre in Liverpool, a specialist centre for neurology and neurosurgery.

A Health Protection Agency spokesman said yesterday: "We can confirm that a female patient who was apparently bitten by a dog during a visit to the Indian sub-continent has died in the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool, where she was being treated for rabies."

The spokesman said all hospital staff who had been in contact with the bite victim had been informed of the death and offered inoculations as a precaution. He said no one else had caught the disease and assured members of the public that they were not at risk.

The spokesman added: "There is no record of rabies ever being passed from a patient to a healthcare worker, but to be absolutely safe staff in both hospitals who had close personal contact with the patient have been offered the rabies vaccine.

"This really is a precautionary measure and we are able to reassure these staff that if any risk to them existed at all, it would have been very low indeed."

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