travel health clinic Kingston

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral disease usually passed from an infected animal to a human via a scratch or bite.  When most people think of rabies they tend to think of dogs but rabies is also quite common in cats, cattle, monkeys, foxes and bats too.  Rabies is everywhere (although not in the UK) but is most common in Asia, Central and South America and Africa.

Our travel health clinic in Kingston can advise you on all your travel injections including the rabies vaccination.

What happens if you catch rabies?

The rabies virus attacks the nervous system leading to inflammation in the spinal cord and brain.  Symptoms can take a while to develop following the initial transmission, around three weeks on average up to a window of twelve weeks.  Typically the early symptoms are fever, headache, delirious episodes, mental anxiety and confusion and respiratory difficulty or problems with swallowing.  Muscle spasms may follow.

Early treatment is very effective but delayed treatment has a poor prognosis. Treatment should always be sought even if you have had a rabies vaccination before you travelled.  Immediate first aid is surprisingly efficacious providing it follows the protocols carefully, further vaccinations may be required thereafter.

What does the rabies vaccination involve?

The normal course is three vaccinations over a period of three to four weeks but this can be condensed down to a seven day period if travel is unplanned or urgent.  A fourth vaccination is needed one year later.

Our travel clinic can offer comprehensive advice about how to minimise your risk of rabies whilst you are travelling and equip you with the correct first aid advice and guidance if you do receive a bite or scratch from an animal whilst abroad.  Visit our website to learn more about the rabies vaccination and all your travel injections.