'Rabies' patient in hospital
A case of suspected rabies is being investigated in Northern Ireland, it was revealed today.
The patient was taken ill after returning from overseas in an area associated with the infection and may have been bitten there.
Initial tests on the patient proved positive and further tests are being carried out to confirm if the diagnosis definite.
There is no treatment for the infection which is always fatal, according to the medical authorities.
Rabies is extremely rare in the UK - there have only been 23 cases since 1946, the last in 2005, and all infections were acquired abroad - the last case of human rabies involving a dog bite suffered in the UK was more than a century ago in 1902.
The Eastern Health and Social Services Board in Belfast is leading a multi-agency investigation into what it said was "a highly likely case of human rabies".
The patient was initially treated in the Ulster Hospital at Dundonald on the outskirts of Belfast and is now in the Royal Victoria Hospital in the city.
The board insisted the risk to the wider community was negligible - there was no documented case of human to human transmission of rabies anywhere in the world.
It added that the person "poses no risk to other patients or to visitors. Both hospitals are functioning normally and there is no risk to the provision of their services.
"All necessary steps on infection control are in place for the protection of staff."
Rabies is a notifiable disease in Northern Ireland and there have been no notifications of rabies in humans there since 1938.
The board and its partner agencies are taking national expert advice from the Health Protection Agency and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
It added: "The board and its partner agencies are satisfied that all necessary steps to protect public health are in place and again stress that any risk to the community is negligible."
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
US gameshow gives woman in wheelchair incredibly awkward prize
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...