Rabies is a serious disease caused by a virus which attacks the brain and spinal cord. The rabies virus is spread by a bite or scratch (or lick to broken skin or the eye) from an infected animal, usually a dog but can be a cat, bat or monkey. Infection is usually passed from body fluids of infected animals such as saliva and blood into open wounds. The incubation period of the virus is usually between 3 to 12 weeks but may take as long as 19 years to develop. Most patients will develop symptoms within 1 year of being exposed to the virus. Most travellers do not plan to come in contact with Rabies. It is usually an unplanned encounter with a stray or wild animal that is likely to introduce you to the virus. If you are unsure whether this vaccine is for you please speak to one of our pharmacists but the benefit of vaccination is that in the event of an unplanned encounter where the transmission of Rabies is possible the post-exposure treatment you require is significantly simpler than if you had chosen not to be vaccinated.
Classical early symptoms include: Pins and Needles type feeling around the wound site, fever, headache and generally feeling out of sorts. This is followed by a dislike of water, extreme behaviour and hallucinations which will progress to paralysis, coma and death. The infection is always fatal and there is no treatment once symptoms start to develop.
Worldwide, there are 55,000 deaths per year due to Rabies, most commonly in developing countries such as Africa and Asia.
Vaccination dosage schedule:
Rabies Vaccine BP: Administer by intramuscular injection. The vaccine should be administered to the deltoid region. One injection is given each day on days 0, 7 and 28. The earliest day that the 3rd dose can be given to achieve effective immune status is day 21.
As of 2019, a rapid course has been introduced which is best suited for travellers with very limited time before departure. It is a 4 dose schedule with 3 doses before travel, on days 0, 3 and 7 with a final dose at 1 year.
Rabipur: In previously unvaccinated persons, an initial course of pre-exposure prophylaxis consists of three doses administered on days 0, 7 and 21 or 28. The recommended single intramuscular dose is 1 ml in all age groups.s of 2019 a rapid course has been introduced which is best suited for travellers with very limited time before departure. It is a 4 dose schedule with 3 doses before travel, on days 0, 3 and 7 with a final dose at 1 year.