Page last updated at 07:57 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Rabies victim dies of infection

Lisa McMurray - image courtesy News Letter
Lisa McMurray died after contracting rabies

A Northern Ireland woman who contracted the rabies virus has died, her family has said.

Lisa McMurray, who was aged in her 30s, was being treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. She died on Tuesday evening.

She had previously been overseas in an area associated with rabies in animals and may have been bitten there.

In a statement, her family said they were "devastated" at their loss and paid tribute to her bravery.

"We are extremely proud not only of all she achieved in life but also of the bravery with which she fought her illness," they said in a statement.

"Her courage was inspiring and typical of the passionate and determined way in which she led her life.

"Her loss will leave a huge hole in all our lives and her family and friends will miss her terribly."

The family paid tribute to the medical staff who had been treating Ms McMurray.

"The sensitive way in which they cared not only for Lisa but for her family and friends has been exceptional and we are very grateful," they said, and appealed for privacy to grieve.

The disease is extremely rare and the last case in Northern Ireland was in 1938.

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