Once again World Rabies Day (WRD) will take place on the 28 of September, the anniversary of the death of Louis Pasteur who collaborated in developing the first rabies vaccine. The aim of WRD is to raise awareness of rabies and to promote activities in affected countries and show a global determination to bring an end to rabies.
Rabies is a deadly disease killing up to 70 000 people worldwide each year. The majority of these are children in developing countries. It is transmitted in the saliva of infected animals.
Advice for Travellers
Rabies risk is a topic that should be discussed in many travel consultations. Important points to remember when visiting rabies risk countries:
- Be aware of potential rabies risk.
- Know how to reduce risk (avoid animal contact).
- Consider being vaccinated before travel.
- Be familiar with first-aid treatment of an animal bite/scratch/lick.
- Be aware of when and where to seek medical attention.
- Learn about post-exposure treatment following an incident.
All travellers should be aware that bats in any country are a potential source of rabies virus, even in countries declared free of animal rabies. Any contact with bats should be reported particularly if contact may have occurred at night while asleep; bat bites can go undetected.