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Rabies Vaccine: Understanding The Importance Of This Vital Vaccination

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a deadly viral infection that poses a significant threat to both humans and animals. The infection is 99% fatal, and 99% preventable! Despite advances in medicine, rabies remains a serious public health issue in many parts of the world. Getting the Rabies vaccine is a critical step in preventing this fatal disease. 

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a viral infection that primarily spreads through the bite of an infected animal. The virus affects the central nervous system, leading to brain inflammation and, ultimately, death if not treated promptly. Common carriers of rabies include dogs, bats, raccoons, and other wild animals.

Why is the Rabies Vaccine Important?

  1. Protection Against a Fatal Disease: Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. The rabies vaccine is the most effective way to prevent infection and ensure survival after exposure to the virus.
  2. Widespread Risk: Rabies is present in over 150 countries and territories. In many parts of Asia and Africa, rabies is endemic, and the risk of exposure is high. The vaccine provides crucial protection for people living in or travelling to these areas.
  3. Preventative Measure: For those at high risk of exposure, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, and travellers to endemic areas, pre-exposure vaccination is highly recommended. It significantly reduces the risk of developing rabies after a potential exposure.
  4. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): If someone is bitten by a potentially rabid animal, receiving the rabies vaccine promptly as part of post-exposure prophylaxis can prevent the virus from taking hold. PEP is a series of vaccinations given after exposure to prevent the disease.
  5. Public Health Impact: Vaccination efforts contribute to controlling and eventually eradicating rabies. By getting vaccinated, individuals not only protect themselves but also help reduce the overall incidence of rabies, supporting public health initiatives.

Who Should Get the Rabies Vaccine?

  • High-Risk Occupations: Individuals working in close contact with animals, such as veterinarians, animal control workers, and wildlife researchers, should consider pre-exposure vaccination.
  • Travellers to Endemic Areas: People travelling to regions where rabies is common should get vaccinated before their trip, especially if they plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or in rural areas where medical care might be limited.
  • Post-Exposure Cases: Anyone who has been bitten or scratched by an animal suspected of having rabies should receive the vaccine as part of PEP, regardless of whether they have been previously vaccinated.

The Vaccination Process

The rabies vaccination process involves a series of injections. For pre-exposure vaccination, typically three doses are given over a few weeks. For post-exposure prophylaxis, a series of doses is administered over a period of about two weeks, starting as soon as possible after the exposure.

Rabies remains a significant health threat worldwide, but vaccination is an effective means of prevention. Whether you are at high risk due to your occupation, planning to travel to an area where rabies is common, or have been exposed to a potentially rabid animal, the rabies vaccine is a lifesaving measure that should not be overlooked. By getting vaccinated, you protect yourself and contribute to the broader effort to control and eventually eliminate this deadly disease.

Click here to book your travel vaccinations with one of our doctors.

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