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Travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK

Rabies (Human) in Peru

15 Feb 2016

The media has reported on human deaths from rabies virus infection in Peru. Twelve deaths have been reported among remote indigenous communities in Achuar villages near the Morona river basin, Loreto region of the Amazon. The deaths have occurred over a period of time; September 2015 - February 2016, and are a result of bites from vampire bats infected with bat lyssavirus (rabies).

 

The government is preparing a state of emergency in order to provide the affected communities in this remote, difficult to reach area with rabies vaccine.

 

Advice for Travellers

 

Peru is considered by WHO to be a high risk destination for rabies, however, bats is any country of the world can transmit rabies. Vampire bats in the Amazon are a particular danger for those sleeping out of doors or in homes without shutters etc. Cattle are the normal target for vampire bats but sleeping humans are also at risk as bat bites can go undetected.

 

Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.