Trio bitten by rabid dog are 'in good health', agency says

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*Three people bitten by a rabid dog at a quarantine centre in London are showing no signs of illness.

They include a social worker who runs a charity which brings street dogs from Sri Lanka into the UK.

Kim Cooling, who runs the Animal SOS Sri Lanka charity based in Palmers Green, London, said she had been 'nipped' on the chin, wrist, and face, two days before the sick dog died.

But she had been vaccinated and given a booster following the attack and felt well.

The dog was being held at quarantine kennels in Chingford, north London.

It arrived just over a week ago after being rescued in Sri Lanka.

A spokeswoman for the HPA said: "We understand that three individuals who were bitten by the animal in the quarantine centre have received prompt protective treatment with appropriate vaccination and are well."

Vets said the dog - and four other Sri Lankan puppies - had been kept in isolation because of concerns about their health.

The dog died on Friday and tests confirmed rabies a few hours later.

The other four puppies - all about eight weeks old - have been put down and their brains are being tested for the disease.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said there were no results for the tests yet.

Mrs Cooling said she was bitten on Wednesday while checking on the dog.

The two members of staff at the kennels were also 'nipped'.

She said the dog had been vaccinated before leaving Sri Lanka and showed no signs of illness.

But its demeanour changed on Wednesday and its condition went rapidly downhill over the next 48 hours.

She was with the dog at the kennels when she was bitten.

"She just snapped at me and she was snapping at the other pups," she said.

"She was just snapping a bit and she was not her usual sweet self.

"She bit me in three places on my wrist, hand and chin."

Mrs Cooling added: "I am shattered at the moment but I am feeling OK. I had already been vaccinated and have had boosters since. I was at the hospital last night."

She had been surprised to discover the dog was rabid.

And she did not think that the other four dogs killed as a precaution had rabies.

"The other four dogs showed no signs of illness to me and I was upset that they had to be put down. I thought that they could have been monitored."

Managers at the kennels say the two members of staff bitten by the dog were also vaccinated and were showing no signs of ill health.

Jeremy Robinson, general manager of the kennels and adjoining vets practice, said he was confident no other dogs or cats at the kennels had been infected.

He said vets had concerns about the five pups when they arrived on April 17.

As a result they had been kept in an isolation area well away from other animals.

He said vets did not initially suspect rabies.

Mrs Cooling said she became concerned about the plight of stray dogs in Sri Lanka during a visit 16 years ago.

The charity's aim was to establish a facility in Sri Lanka where stray dogs could be cared for.

But charity workers did bring Sri Lankan street dogs back to Britain and 40 had found UK homes in recent years.

"All our animals are fully screened before they leave and we have never had any problems before."