101 Pharmacy & Travel Clinic
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Rabies is a serious viral disease that is considered 100% fatal if left untreated. It is usually transmitted through a bite of an infected animal, but transmission is also possible through scratches, licks to wounds, open skin and lining of mouth and nose. While all mammals are possible carriers of the virus, dogs are of particular concern, as they are responsible for the majority of human rabies cases. Avoidance of animal bite is the most effective protective measure. Travellers should not approach or provoke free ranging animals, and try to be more aware of their surroundings so they do not accidentally surprise an animal. While entering bat caves do not pose a significant rabies risk, travellers should avoid handling bats as their bites can be tiny and may not be noticeable. For those who were not previously vaccinated, timely administration of rabies immune globulin (RIG) injections are required for effective treatment. Since access to RIG is difficult in many parts of the world, pre-exposure vaccination is recommended for those who are travelling to high-risk, and/or remote areas.
Imovax and RabAvert
Imovax and RabAvert are rabies vaccines that is administered in a three dose series at 0, 7 and 21-28 days. In the event of rabies exposure, those who were vaccinated must still receive post-exposure treatment. However, it is important to note that pre-exposure vaccination eliminates the need to seek treatment with RIG, which needs to be administered promptly and can be extremely difficult to obtain. Pre-exposure vaccination also shorten post-exposure treatment from 2-4 weeks to 3 days.