What is it?
Rabies is a viral infection that is transmitted through a bite or scratch from an infected mammal
The virus travels throughout the body via the nervous system and eventually causes death
What are the symptoms?
Fever and pain and tingling at the wound site
As symptoms progress, individuals can experience anxiety, psychological disturbances, confusion, agitation, delirium, rage, hallucinations and fear of water
Paralysis is also occasionally present
Untreated, it is fatal and people die of cardiac and respiratory failure within 14 days
How can I contract rabies?
90% of human cases are from dog bites
Most human cases of rabies are caused by animal bites or scratches that break the skin, but you can become infected if a rabid animal licks you on broken skin such as a cut or on your mucous membranes
Where can I contract it?
Rabies occurs worldwide
Most human deaths occur in Asia and Africa where dogs are the main carriers of the disease
What vaccines are available?
TMVC uses IMOVAX rabies vaccine
How many shots will I need?
People who have not been exposed to rabies are given a series of 3 injections prior to travel
You must complete the 3 dose series before you travel, so it is important to get your first shot at least a month before your departure date
Will I need a booster?
If you continue to be at high risk of exposure to rabies (e.g. if you are a veterinarian or wildlife worker or someone travelling to high risk areas that are far from major medical centres), a blood test may be recommended every 2 years to determine whether you need a booster
How can I prevent rabies?
Avoid animal bites and contact with bats
Do not pick up, pet or handle unfamiliar animals
Do not approach or try to attract wild or stray animals
Should you get bitten further treatment is still required, however it is a lot less complicated
What is the treatment for it?
Clean the wound or contact area thoroughly
Wash and flush the area with soap and water for at least 15 minutes
This can help prevent the onset of rabies
Treatment given after exposure to the virus (called post-exposure prophylaxis) is very effective at preventing rabies, as long as you receive it promptly after exposure and before any symptoms appear