Rabies- Know Your Facts From Fiction
Myth 1- There's no point having rabies vaccine, it only buys you an extra 24 hours
A full pre-exposure rabies vaccination course will prime the immune system and ensures an effective response to post exposure vaccination as your body has already started to produce antibodies to the rabies virus. It also reduces the number of vaccinations needed after possible exposure to the virus and eliminates the need for rabies immunoglobulin (which can be difficult to source in developing countries). Rabies can almost always be prevented, even after exposure, if the correct post exposure vaccine is administered without delay.
Myth 2- The Rabies vaccine is very painful and goes directly into your stomach doesn’t it?
The injections are given into your upper arm and are no more painful than other injections. There are usually no serious side effects.
Myth 3- I can only catch rabies from dogs, if I stay away from them then there is no risk
Dog bites are the most common cause of human infection in developing countries, however a number of mammals and bat species are natural reservoirs for the virus. The following species are more commonly infected;
Myth 4- A stray dog only licked my hand and didn’t bite or scratch so there is no need to seek medical attention
The virus is present in the saliva of an infected animal. Care should be taken in all instances when in contact with stray animals but particular if a lick, scratch or bite takes place in proximity to intact or broken skin. All travellers who have a possible exposure to the rabies virus should seek medical advice without delay even if pre-exposure vaccine was received. If in any doubt, seek medical advice immediately.
Myth 5- Rabies is only an issue in isolated parts of certain countries
Rabies is found on all continents, except Antarctica.