Rabies is a fatal viral infection that is spread from animals to humans which causes acute inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. There is currently no treatment for rabies, but it can be prevented through vaccination.
Countries at risk
Rabies occurs worldwide.
Infected mammals can spread the rabies virus through bites, scratches, or even a lick on to broken skin. Travellers are advised to avoid contact with animals in infected areas. All mammals are susceptible to the virus including skunks, jackals, mongooses, foxes and raccoons, dogs, cats, monkeys and bats.
Dogs account for the majority of human deaths, with most of these occurring in Asia, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. Bats cause most human rabies deaths in the USA and Canada, and have recently begun to emerge as a health threat in Western Europe, Latin America and Australia.
Signs and symptoms
The first symptoms of rabies are usually similar to the flu, including fever and headaches. There may also be pain at the area of the bite, developing within days to symptoms of anxiety, confusion and agitation. As the disease progresses further, the person may experience delirium, abnormal behaviour, hallucinations, and insomnia.
Once the clinical signs of rabies appear, the disease is nearly always fatal. Treatment is typically limited to supportive care.
A course of three injections of Rabipur will cover against Rabies and is recommended for travellers to high-risk areas who may be exposed to rabies because of their chosen travel activities and/or limited access to post-exposure medical care.
In the event of possible exposure to rabies, urgent medical attention should be sought, even in those who have received pre-exposure vaccines.
vaccines over 28 days. While travelling, be sure to use mosquito nets and avoid insect bites between dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are most active.