Protection against rabies is a vital part of all-round travel safety in many parts of the world

As we enter into the summer months, many of us will have holidaying and travelling on our minds. However, along with planning activities and packing your swimwear, it’s important to take the time to consider travel safety before you go away.

Many countries possess the risk of viruses and infections which can seriously impact your health while abroad. One such risk is rabies. In fact, recent figures reveal just how much of a threat rabies can be for travellers worldwide. We’re here to take you through these figures, and show you how you can prevent rabies from not only ruining your holiday but even putting your life at risk.

The figures

Here are some of the most recent statistics surrounding the rabies virus, putting into perspective how important it is to protect yourself when you travel to Asia, Africa and Central and South America in particular.

– Human rabies is present in all continents except for Antarctica, and is active in over 150 countries and territories across the world.
More than 59,000 people die every year from rabies, and over 95 per cent of these deaths occur in Asia and Africa. This equates to nearly one death every nine minutes

– Around 40 per cent of people who are bitten by animals are suspected to be carrying rabies are children under the age of 15 years old.
While the rabies virus can be transmitted by any infected animal to humans, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that dogs are by far the main source of death caused by human rabies. In fact, dogs contribute up to 99 per cent of all rabies transmissions to humans.

Advice for travellers

The rabies virus is spread by contact with saliva from any infected wild or domestic animal, usually via a bite, scratch or lick to an open wound. Certain activities like cycling and running can increase the risk of rabies exposure. If you plan on travelling for an extended period and seeking employment, taking on work as a vet, animal control officer, wildlife worker or animal shelter volunteer can also increase your risk of infection.

For humans, contracting rabies is usually fatal. Travellers should avoid any contact with wild or domestic animals when travelling, including other people’s pets. If you are travelling with children, be sure to keep them away from any animals as they are at the greatest risk. Children are more likely to touch animals and less likely to report a bite or scratch.

If you or one of your fellow travellers does receive an animal bite or scratch, soak the area beneath a running tap for several minutes and was thoroughly with soap or detergent to remove saliva. You must also seek immediate medical attention after receiving a bite, scratch or lick to an open wound, no matter how trivial it seems. It is important to receive prompt post-exposure treatment even if you have received pre-exposure treatment and washed the wound immediately after receiving it.

For the best rates of immunization against the rabies virus, it is absolutely vital to receive the necessary vaccination before you travel. This is particularly true if you plan on travelling to Asia, Africa or South or Central America. Be sure to leave plenty of time between your vaccination and your travel.

For protection against rabies and a host of other potential health threats, visit Express Travel Clinic before you leave. Contact our team today by calling 0208 993 58 89 or click here to book an appointment.