Rabies prevention and control

Rabies is an acute viral infection that is fatal in nearly all cases

Transmission to humans is usually through saliva via the bite of an infected animal such as a dog. The United Kingdom has been clear of Rabies for many years due to the very stringent import controls of mammals, including dogs and cats.


The Trading Standards Service is responsible for the enforcement of legislation introduced to prevent the disease entering the United Kingdom. Animal Health & Welfare Inspectors visit marinas, yacht harbours, airfields and campsites to raise public awareness and prevent pet animals from being landed illegally at such premises, and thus avoiding the six month quarantine requirements.


Legislation is in place to control any reported case of rabies in the United Kingdom. The Trading Standards Service in conjunction with the Animal Health (an Executive Agency of the Government) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are responsible for the enforcement of such legislation. Detailed contingency plans have been drawn up to enable containment and control of any suspected case of the disease.

In recent years UK and European Community legislation has allowed for the controlled importation of pet animals into the UK via a “Pet Passport” scheme. This allows import of pets without the need for quarantine. These imports are closely controlled and monitored by Local Authorities and Animal Health/DEFRA.


For further information contact:

Trading Standards Service (Animal Health) on 01962 833620

Animal Health/DEFRA on 01189 596695