Introduction This article forms part of our travel medicine series for 2010, providing a summary of
prevention strategies and vaccination for infections that may be acquired by travellers.
The series aims to provide practical strategies to assist general practitioners in giving
travel advice, as a synthesis of multiple information sources which must otherwise be
Background Rabies is an acute, almost invariably fatal, progressive encephalomyelitis caused by
neurotropic lyssaviruses of the Rhabdoviridae family.
Objective Rabies prevention, vaccines and postexposure prophylaxis are discussed, and
information regarding vaccines, immunoglobulin products and vaccine regimens that
may be encountered overseas is also given.
Discussion Rabies viruses are present in most parts of the world, although it is mainly a problem in
developing countries with more than 50 000 people dying from rabies each year, usually
after a dog bite. All travellers require education regarding rabies prevention if travelling
to an endemic area, and those at high risk of exposure should be offered pre-exposure
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