What is Rabies?
Hydrophobia, or rabies, is a fatal viral disease passed by a bite or scratch from an infected human or animal, such as a dog, bat or monkey. From the injury the virus moves along the motor neurons to the brain, which can take 4 days to 4+ years.
It can be prevented before or immediately after a bite or scratch, but is not treatable once symptoms begin. Prevention before travelling consists of 3 doses of rabies vaccine given over a 3 to 4 week period. Two more doses would be given after a risky bite, if it happens.
Without pre-departure vaccination, an individual would require full post-exposure treatment which involves receiving rabies immunoglobulin and a series of 5 injections of vaccine.
Immunoglobulin is in short supply, therefore you will need to get to a large medical centre, a nearby country or home quickly. In either case, wash the injury thoroughly for 10 minutes with an antiseptic and seek medical attention the same day, if possible.
Vaccine name: Imovax Rabies®, RabAvert®
Minimum age: all ages
Primary series: 3 doses (0, 7 & 21 days)
Booster: based on serological results