Rabies is a highly infectious, often fatal disease spread through animal bites, saliva and scratches. The disease is in many countries around the world. High-risk countries include many popular tourist destinations, such as Indonesia, India, the Philippines and more. Visit this helpful tool to discover if the country you are visiting is at high, low or no risk of rabies.
Rabies is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people per year. According to the World Health Organisation, most of these deaths occur in Asia and Africa.
The USA is considered a low-risk country as it does have the disease, though contraction is rare. When visiting The States, make sure you avoid contact with foxes, skunks and racoons - carriers of rabies.
What to do if you suspect a rabid animal has bitten you.
Rabies is preventable and treatable by vaccination. However, it is mostly fatal once symptoms appear. So it is of the utmost importance that you seek urgent medical attention if you've been bitten or scratched by an animal while in a country affected by rabies. Carriers of rabies include dogs (dog bites cause most cases), monkeys, bats, rodents and more. If in doubt, still seek medical attention - it's always better to be safe than sorry.
The World Health Organisation also advises that immediate washing of the infected wound with soapy water for 15 minutes is crucial.
Following the washing of the wound:
Apply an antibacterial topical treatment such as povidone-iodine.
Receive the rabies vaccines.
Rabies is preventable by vaccination. Visit your doctor at least six weeks before you leave for your trip to organise your vaccines as you require three over a month.
The vaccination scheduled is as follows:
Day 21 or 28.
You can also help prevent rabies by avoiding animals that may be rabid.
It isn't easy to diagnose rabies before the onset of symptoms, so if you have been exposed to rabies through a bite or scratch from a possibly rabid animal, treating your wound as if you have come into contact with the disease is best.
If you wish to receive the rabies vaccine or other travel vaccinations, then call us on 9741 1200 or book an appointment online. We are a medical clinic with a designated Travel Clinic. We can provide same-day travel vaccinations in order to save you time and unnecessary appointments.