International travel and health

World - Rabies

Recent emergence of dog rabies with associated human cases in previously rabies-free areas of South East Asia emphasizes the need for travellers to avoid contact with free-roaming animals, especially dogs and cats, and with wild and captive animals. Travellers spending a lot of time in rural areas, involved in activities such as running, bicycling, camping, or hiking should receive pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is also recommended for people with significant occupational risks, such as veterinarians, and expatriates living in areas with a significant risk of exposure to domestic and wild carnivores, in particular dogs . Children should be immunized, as they are at higher risk due to playing with animals, particularly with dogs and cats, may receive more severe bites, or are more likely not to report contact with rabies suspect animals. Medical advice should be sought at once at a competent medical centre, ideally in the rabies treatment centre of a major city hospital following a suspect contact (especially bites or scratches) with a rabies susceptible animal including bats. First-aid measures should be started immediately (see Post-exposure prophylaxis in International Travel and Health Book, Chapter 6).