Rabies is a fatal viral disease affecting the brain and nervous system, which develops from animal bites and scratches.
At least 60 000 deaths occur worldwide.
Every year about 15-20 million people seek medical help following a bite, lick or scratch from an animal at risk of having Rabies.
In human history less than a handful of people have ever survived Rabies.
Bites or scratches from dogs both domestic and wild are the commonest cause worldwide of getting Rabies, however other mammals like cats, monkeys, bats, racoons, foxes can also carry Rabies.
The best way is to avoid contact with all animals whilst abroad; do not feed them, leave food out; be careful when cycling and running and be especially careful when travelling with children as they lack awareness and are unlikely to report scratches or licks by animals
Rabies vaccination ( Non-live)
Better still pre- travel vaccination is a highly effective measure and stops the need for getting HRIG (Human Rabies ImmunoGlobulin) following exposure.
Both HRIG and Rabies vaccination are in short supply around the world on a regular basis.
The primary course of Rabies vaccination consists of 3 doses usually given over a 28 days period but may be shortened to 21 days.
A super accelerated Rabies travel vaccination course can now also given on day 0, 3 and 7 with a booster due at 1 year.
Please note that receiving rabies vaccine prior to travel does not eliminate the need for a medical help.
Urgent medical advice should always be sought following any possible exposure to rabies as additional doses of rabies vaccine may be needed together with antibiotics and a Tetanus booster.
As an occupational physician with postgraduate training in travel health, Dr Nomy oversees the travel vaccination programme at FlyingMedicine™ ensuring clients get risk based vaccinations