Rabies is an acute viral infection that spreads from animals to humans. It causes inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain (encephalomyelitis). The rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals. The virus also may enter through a broken skin, eyes, nose or mouth.
There is a risk of Rabies in all continents of the world except Antarctica. Most commonly Bats in all countries are considered to be a rabies risk. The region considered to be high risk for rabies are Asia, Africa, and South and Latin America.
If you are traveling to an endemic area, you should consider getting the rabies vaccination. Also, you should avoid contact with animals, especially dogs. As animals are more likely to approach children, you should take extra care with children. You should seek urgent medical assistance in case of exposure.
Rabies symptoms start with a headache, fever, general weakness and numbness or tingling around the wound site. The disease progresses to muscle spasms, hydrophobia (fear of water) and convulsions. Once symptoms of rabies develop, the infection is fatal.
Vaccination is recommended for all travelers who will be traveling, staying or taking part in activities in endemic areas. Also, those who will be staying in rural areas, away from medical facilities should consider vaccinations and take extra care. The rabies vaccine comes as 3 doses given over a period of 3-4 weeks. Make sure you book a consultation well in advance of your travel.