Rabies (cont.)

2. Q: Should I receive rabies preexposure vaccination before traveling to other countries?

A: In most countries, the risk of rabies and the precautions for preventing rabies are the same as they are in the United States. However, in some developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, dog rabies may be common and preventive treatment for rabies may be difficult to obtain. If you are traveling to a rabies-endemic country, you should consult your health care provider about the possibility of receiving preexposure vaccination against rabies. Preexposure vaccination is suggested if:

  1. Your planned activity will bring you into contact with wild or domestic animals (for example, biologists, veterinarians, or agriculture specialists working with animals).
  2. You will be visiting remote areas where medical care is difficult to obtain or may be delayed (for example, hiking through remote villages where dogs are common).
  3. Your stay is longer than 1 month in an area where dog rabies is common (the longer you stay, the greater the chance of an encounter with an animal).

3. Q: If I get preexposure vaccination before I travel, am I protected if I am bitten?

A: No. Preexposure prophylaxis is given for several reasons. First, although preexposure vaccination does not eliminate the need for additional therapy after a rabies exposure, it simplifies therapy by eliminating the need for human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) and decreasing the number of doses needed - a point of particular importance for persons at high risk of being exposed to rabies in areas where immunizing products may not be readily available. Second, it may protect persons whose postexposure therapy might be delayed. Finally, it may provide partial protection to persons with inapparent exposures to rabies.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Last Editorial Review: 8/29/2006 8:06:05 PM