Rabies vaccination before foreign travel?

woman with abdominal pain
Doctor's Responses Archive

Viewer Question:
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).

Last Editorial Review: 5/2/2002

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors