Rabies is a viral infection that causes, usually fatal, swelling of the brain. It is transmitted from the saliva of an infected animal through broken skin, usually by a bite or scratch or lick of a wound. It is present on all continents, apart from Antarctica with the highest prevalence in the Indian sub-continent, Asia and Africa. Symptoms usually occur 3-12 weeks after the infection. There is no treatment when symptoms have begun.
Travellers are advised to avoid contact with animals, particularly dogs and cats. They should also be vigilant to any children who are travelling who may be more likely to approach animals. Immediate wound care should be performed in the event of a possible exposure and medical attention should then be sort immediately.
Vaccination reduces the risk but if exposure does occur further vaccines are then usually given. It is recommended for travellers who may not be able to promptly (<24 hours) access a major medical centre for advice, rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin (if these products are available), anyone travelling for a period of over 1 month, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, anyone working or living in remote areas, children who may lack awareness of the need to avoid animals or to report an animal bite and health workers who are likely to come into close contact with a patient with rabies.
Initial symptoms include:
- High temperature over 38C
- Feeling anxious or generally unwell
- Sometimes discomfort at the bite site.
A few days later other symptoms that can occur are:
- Confusion or aggressive behaviour
- Frothing at the mouth
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Vaccine: Rabipur or Rabies Vaccine BP
Our rabies vaccinations are performed intramuscularly, and a full dose course is given. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK currently recommends the intramuscular rather than the intradermal route for pre-exposure prophylaxis use of rabies vaccine.
Course of 3 doses over 28 days. Accelerated course over 1 week is possible but will need a further dose at 12 months.
£60 per dose.