What is Rabies?

Rabies is a disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected animal. Rabies is an acute viral infection, which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms usually begin with a fever, followed by symptoms such as agoraphobia, hallucinations, convulsions and other disturbing behaviour. Untreated rabies always results in death, usually by respiratory paralysis.

Who is at risk of Rabies?

Rabies is endemic (that is: infection is present in low levels) in all areas of the world, with the exception of Antarctica.

How can I prevent Rabies?

For those travelling to high-risk destinations vaccination is the best method of protection. Advice should be sought from a health professional in regard to vaccination. Vaccination prior to travel is often regarded unnecessary for those less than 24 hours away from a vaccine supply. However, vaccination might be advisable for those travelling to areas where supplies of rabies immunoglobulin are currently known to be low even if they are less than 24 hours from medical attention.

The price of the vaccine varies from place to place and it is often cheaper to obtain vaccination from a specialised vaccination centre or Travel Clinic. Price varies due to the method of administration, as the vaccine can be given either intradermally or intramuscularly at differing amounts. It is also essential that travellers avoid stray animals in risk areas.


Note: This information is designed to complement and not replace the relationship that exists with your existing family doctor or travel health professional.  Please discuss your travel health requirements with your regular family doctor or practice nurse.