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Rabies jab for south and central america

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Rabies jab for south and central america

1. Posted by laineybaby (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi people

HELP! I have heard so many conflicting views about whether to get the rabies jab or not. My nurse told me it wasn't neccessary and my friends who I am travelling with have been told that they should. At the end of the day if there is no need dont want to pay the money.

Their nurse said that mosquitos can carry that true?

Would be greatful for any advice :)


2. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Elaine,

It entirely depends on what you plan to go doing. If you run a large risk at infection, for instance when you go volunteering in the slums, or work with animals (cats, dogs, rodents, bats, mostly), it may be adviceable to get your rabies jab. If not, there is no real need to, as far as I know. Never heard that mosquito-story before, sounds to me like absolute rubbish, but maybe they say something about it here; to get proper protection when travelling to the tropics, best consult a specialised doctor rather than your regular GP.

Also, preventive rabies treatment only slows down a potential infection, it doesn't render you immune to it! So, even íf you take the cure, you should still seek immediate medical treatment in case of a bite.


[ Edit: Edited on Jan 4, 2007, at 5:44 AM by bentivogli ]

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting laineybaby

Their nurse said that mosquitos can carry that true?

In all my years of being a Veterinary Technologist & Pharmacologist, I have never seen any literature or information linking mosquitoes to rabies transmission. I also have not found any current literature substantiating the nurse's statement. Mosquitoes are carriers of many diseases but rabies is not one. Rabies requires a warm-blooded host, something a mosquito is not. If a mosquito fed on an infected host, the time it would take to digest that meal and feed again would be longer than the survival rate of the virus. That's not to say it couldn't happen, but there is no documentation to support such a transmission. Mosquitoes would be the least of my rabies worries.

Niels is correct about the immunity factor of the vaccine. Initially, the vaccine is a series of 2-3 injections, spaced one month apart. What these do is increase your immunity but do not give you full protection. It gives you about 24 additional hours to seek treatment. If you receive the vaccinations and come in contact with the virus, you will receive 1-2 immunoglobulin injections to boost your immune system and 3-5 additional rabies vaccinations.

Unless your plans are to work with the local wildlife and/or will be spending the majority of your trip in rural/wilderness areas - save your money. Common sense is your best protection. Avoid the skunks, don't pet the pretty monkeys or feed the stray dogs and you will be fine. Have a great trip!

4. Posted by laineybaby (Budding Member 7 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Guys

thanks so much for your quick replies. It makes me feel a little more at ease, and sort of confirms what my iitial thoughts on the matter were.

The nurse had said that if a mosquito bit an anmial infected by rabies and then me thats when I could catch rabies...but your explaination makes a lot of sense.

Would this advice be the same for indonesia and, oz, fiji, and bangkok?

Thanks again

5. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Check the website in my previous post; they list rabies threath levels for all countries. But the same definitely goes for Indonesia and Thailand, probably also for Fiji. Oz I'm not sure about; I guess the risk is much lower there, it being relatively civilised and all :)

6. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

The Australian Government's Department of Health & Aging says this:

Countries that reported no rabies in their terrestrial animal populations include Australia, Fiji, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, and Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Vanuatu.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, rabies is present in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia (but not Bali or Lombok), Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United States and Viet Nam.

Again, common sense will be your best protection.

Department of Health & Aging - Rabies


Forgot to add - being diligent in the use of insect sprays (containing DEET) and you will reduce your risk of mosquito bites anyway. The CDC and WHO recommend products containing at least 30% DEET and prefer products with 50% DEET in them.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 5, 2007, at 7:26 AM by Isadora ]