Burlington Travel Clinic
This fatal viral brain infection results from the bite of a rabid animal that harbors the virus in its saliva. Once infected, no one can survive rabies.
Prevention has two parts, animal bite avoidance, and both pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.
Dog bites are a major cause of rabies, however travellers can be at risk in many famous scenarios. Travellers to Asia and South America should pay particular attention to keeping distance from monkeys. As we all know, monkeys are lovely animals and like interaction with humans. Furthermore, they are prevalent in large numbers in Asia and South America, in both jungle and urban centers. These facts make them a particular risk for rabies.
Bats with their painless bite due to their tiny teeth and their ability to fly can crawl to the top of the list. Cavers and children are particularly at risk.
There is no exception to seeking immediate medical care after an animal bite for wound management and post-exposure prophylaxis.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, when recommended by a travel doctor, will reduce the risk of rabies and make post-exposure prophylaxis much easier. This is especially true when the availability of the expensive immunoglobulin (antibodies given with vaccine after an animal bite) and medical care are an issue in most destinations where animal-human interaction may occur. Pre-exposure prophylaxis DOES NOT mean you will need to get Post-exposure vaccination immediately after an animal bite.
- The information in this page is for educational purposes only. It is not to substitute for a formal travel consult with your travel doctor.
- If you have health insurance offered to you through work or school you may be covered for vaccines. At time of payment, we will provide you with an invoice (with the unique DIN for each vaccine) so you can claim your expenses back from your insurance company.This vaccine is not covered by OHIP for Pre-exposure purposes.
- If you get bitten by an animal while abroad you should see a doctor immediately even if you had Pre-exposure Rabies vaccine .Always seek immediate medical advice if you get sick abroad or after you return.
- regardless of vaccination status, always try to stay away from animals to avoid bites.