Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 9, September 2010

Rabies Prevention in travellers

Cora A Mayer Amy A Neilson
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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 consulted.
Rabies is an acute, almost invariably fatal, progressive encephalomyelitis caused by neurotropic lyssaviruses of the Rhabdoviridae family.
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.
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 vaccination.

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