Brierlie's story 

Brierlie Godfrey, an Australian actress living in London, was bitten by a wild monkey while on holiday in Morocco. She didn't think much of it, until she realised she may have caught rabies.

"I took a break in Morocco with five friends last May. We were staying in Marrakech and took a trip into the Atlas Mountains.

"We met a man who offered to be our unofficial guide to the spectacular waterfalls in the area. We all got on well and afterwards he took us back to his home. The backyard backed on to the jungle and he showed us how the wild monkeys knew him and would come to him.

"He had one on his shoulder. I was standing quite close to him. Suddenly the monkey jumped off him, grabbed my hand in his and dug his teeth into me between my thumb and index finger.

"I didn't scream. I was in shock and couldn't move. It took about five seconds before I realised that the monkey was biting me. My friends laughed at me afterwards, asking why I didn't pull my hand away. But I couldn't do anything. It hurt but, thank goodness, I took my hand away eventually, otherwise he would have got his teeth into me badly.

"The guide took a look and said it was nothing, just a scratch and not to worry about it. But I could see that it had broken the skin. Although I didn't think it was that bad, my friends all said I should see my doctor when I got back home.

"I didn't know anything about rabies, so when I could see it was beginning to heal and I felt alright, I thought I could just forget about it. If it wasn't for my friends, I would've done nothing about it. When I spoke to my mum back in Australia, she also hassled me to go to the doctor. 

"I got back to London on a Sunday and saw my GP the next day. I was surprised when she sent me to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The doctors there decided that, as a precaution, I should have a course of seven anti-rabies injections spread over the following weeks. I was surprised because, at this stage, there was nothing on my hand apart from a small scab. It helped me get over my fear of injections quite quickly. 

"The doctor didn't tell me anything about rabies, although every time she saw me she was careful to ask how I was feeling. After researching rabies on the internet, I knew why. It made me glad that my friends pushed me to see a doctor and that my mother wanted me to have it checked out. In the end, that was the reason I went to the doctor. Mum is always right."

Photo of Brierlie Godfrey

"I was really surprised when the doctor sent me to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases"

Page last reviewed: 17/02/2015

Next review due: 17/02/2017