How Long Before You Travel Should You Have Rabies Vaccination?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Should I receive rabies vaccination before traveling to another country?

Doctor's Response

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.

Preexposure vaccination is suggested if:

  • Your activity will bring you into contact with wild or domestic animals (for example, biologists, veterinarians, or agriculture specialists working with animals).
  • 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).
  • Your stay will be longer than 1 month in an area where dog rabies is common (the longer you stay, the greater the chance of an encounter with a rabid animal).

If you are traveling to a rabies-endemic country (a country with constant rabies), you should consult your health care provider or a travel clinic about the possibility of receiving preexposure vaccination against rabies.

This response is based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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