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Rabies vaccination
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Rabies disease is a serious, deadly viral infection that can infect any mammalian animal including dogs, cats, monkeys, bats, etc. These infected animals then cause rabies in humans. It’s difficult to estimate how many people actually die of rabies around the world but the World Health Organization estimates that about 59,000 people die across 150 countries every year. 95% of these cases are in Africa and Asia but remember rabies is widespread in other parts of the world such as South America and is also present in many European countries. 60% of all deaths occur in Asia with India claiming 35%.

Rabies, what is it?

Rabies vaccination

Rabies is complete preventable with the rabies immunisation. If you think you might be at risk when travelling, then you should have a course of vaccinations before you go. This is called a pre-exposure rabies vaccination.

 

Interestingly, there’s never been a recorded case of rabies in anyone who has received a pre-exposure rabies vaccination. Although you still need post exposure vaccination (rabies jabs after being bitten or scratched), this is much simpler and safer than if you had not received the pre-exposure rabies vaccines (see vaccine schedule below).

The rabies vaccination is £86 per dose for adults and £86 per dose for children. If you’re travelling then there’ll be a Travel Consultation cost of £30 per person and the vaccine cost, however, if you’re not travelling then it’s only the vaccination cost you pay.

Rabies vaccine price

Dr Ravi Gowda

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases or one of his highly trained clinical colleagues will be looking after your vaccine requirements. 

Who will be providing your rabies vaccination?
We're a team of trained experts

Experts in Infectious Diseases

and Travel Medicine

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Over 21 years of experience in Travel Health

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Cared for more than

10,000  patients

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Over 150 5 star reviews on Google Reviews

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Book appointment online

1. Book an appointment online

Book and pay for your travel consultation online for £30.

Attend your consultation

2. Attend your consultation

Complete an online health assessment and attend your consultation.

Get your vaccination

3. Get your rabies vaccination

Get the vaccination you need and you're ready to go.

How it works
Prevention icon

We recommend getting the rabies vaccination as the highest form of prevention. However, if you’ve not had the rabies jab, you can take the following preventative measures to reduce the risk of rabies: - Avoid animals - You should not attempt to handle sick or wounded animals - Be aware of activities that increase the risk of animal bites, such as trekking, running or cycling - Avoid feeding animals Post exposure rabies vaccination and wound care: If you do get bitten or scratched abroad then you should seek immediate medical attention before you develop any symptoms and take the following urgent actions (even if you’ve had pre-exposure rabies vaccination): - Clean the wound under water with soap or any detergent for at least five minutes but do not rub vigorously - Apply disinfectant such as iodine or alcohol (preferably 70%) - Seek urgent medical attention for post exposure rabies treatment (PET) - Make sure you receive a further dose of tetanus vaccine if you are not already up-to-date - You may also require antibiotics as bites and scratches are often contaminated with bacteria

Prevention
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Make sure you get the rabies vaccination before travelling as it will protect you. Once you’ve developed symptoms of rabies, then unfortunately, it’s too late. So remember to get your rabies jabs before you travel.

Rabies treatment
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Once symptoms begin, I’m afraid it’s usually too late. They’re non-specific at the beginning with symptoms such as headache, fever and weakness. Other symptoms are itchiness at the sight of the bite, anxiety, agitation, hallucinations, confusion and hydrophobia (fear of water) The usual outcome is death but rabies immunisation is very effective.

Rabies symptoms
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Rabies is a viral infection that’s spread through the saliva of infected animals. So if you’re bitten or scratched by any mammal in a country where rabies exists, then you’re at risk. Rabies usually occurs in domestic animals such as dogs or cats, however it can also be found in bats and even monkeys. Here at Travel Klinix, we have had clients call us from all corners of the globe after being exposed to rabies to each and everyone of these animals! The rabies virus attacks the nerves, the brain and spinal cord and once you’ve developed symptoms, you have more than a 99% chance of dying as there’s no treatment. However, it’s entirely preventable with a rabies vaccination course.

Rabies causes
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The rabies vaccination is generally well tolerated with the most common side effect being injection site pain and swelling. Occasionally, you might also experience joint or muscle pain.

Rabies vaccine side effects
  • If rabies exists in a country then you’re potentially at risk. In the UK, even though rabies has been eradicated from domestic animals, bats can carry potentially lethal rabies. Just because rabies exists in a country it doesn’t mean you’re at high risk and the general population in the UK are at extremely low risk.

     

    So what puts me at high risk of rabies?

     

    Sadly, children are at high risk. 50% of all global cases are in children under 15 years of age.

     

    You’re also at risk if you belong to any of the following groups:

    • Cyclists

    • Runners

    • Animal workers who regularly visit rabies affected countries

    • Healthcare workers who might be in direct contact with rabies patients

    • Long stay travellers

    • Travellers going to remote locations

     

    Who should have the rabies vaccination?

    • Those working with animals in rabies affected countries

    • Bat handlers including volunteers (including the UK)

    • Long-term travellers

    • Any traveller who is visiting a rabies affected country where access to post exposure rabies treatment might be difficult to access

    • Healthcare workers who may potentially look after patients with rabies

    • Laboratory workers handling rabies samples

  • The manufacturers recommend that you get a booster rabies vaccine every 2-5 years.

  • Rabies is widespread throughout the world, including much of Europe. It’s most common in Africa and Asia, with India having the highest number of cases in the world (due to the number of stray dogs). If you need further information, the UK Health Security Agency has compiled a rabies risk by country page.

     

    If you’re still unsure about whether you need the rabies jab, contact us and we’ll talk you through everything.

  • Rabies is such a serious disease that if you’re considered at risk then you should be offered the vaccination if the potential benefits outweigh the risks, even if you’re pregnant. For post-exposure rabies vaccination you should be offered the vaccination.

  • This really depends on the site of the injury, severity of the wound and how much virus has been introduced into your body.  It’s usually about 20 - 90 days, but remember it can be as short as 4 days or as long as several years

  • Rabies is not contagious from casual contact from person to person. It can infect you if any infected animal’s saliva gets into an open wound (through a bite or scratch). Please bear in mind, it’s also a risk if any saliva gets into your mouth, nose or eyes as well.

Frequently asked questions

Authors:

Dr Ravi Gowda, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Travel Medicine

MBBS, MRCP(UK), DTM&H, MRCGP, DCH, DRCOG, DFFP

Caitlin Lancaster, BSc

 

Resources:

  1. Rabies. The Green Book chapter 27

  2. Rabipur (Rabies vaccine) Summary of Product characteristics.

  3. Rabies risk by country. UKHSA