Hep B and Rabies

Travel Forums General Talk Hep B and Rabies

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1. Posted by Ricardo (Budding Member 79 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I went to my local GP last friday and had the Hep A and typhoid vaccination.She then also recommended that I have my Hep B and Rabies vaccinations also,which I would have to pay over £200 for(.I have since read up about Hep B and Rabies and the risks seem small in the areas I am visiting.(Thailand,Malaysia,OZ,NZ,Fiji,Hawaii,L.A).I just wanted to see if some of you guys have had these vaccinations or didnt bother.Its just £200+ for something that I may not need seems daft.I know at the end of the day you cant put a price on your health but am I taking a risk or not?
Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated:)

2. Posted by Dani girl (Budding Member 49 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I thought hep B was normally only recommended for healthcare workers, intravenous drug users etc..I think it's the one transmitted by blood...as for Rabies, I had the three vaccines as I'll be visiting a part of China where there's been a bit outbreak. You're right, it's expensive. Cost me 120 pounds. The vaccine only buys you a little more time anyway. Having said that if you do contract rabies, you're a gonner. I have a good friend who was bitten by a rabid dog in an oasis in Egypt...he only just managed to get his first jab in time...not necessarily that easy in some countries so it gets you thinking. It's a risk assessment I guess. I think you have to get a booster every 3-5 years. Maybe it's worth the investment if you'll be doing lots of travelling to more remote areas in the future?

3. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Personally, I would recommend receiving the Hep B vaccination. As Dani has stated, it is highly recommended for healthcare workers, but also recommended for the layperson. Though you are traveling in areas that have good health care facilities, Hep B is also recommended in case you should have sexual contact with any of the local population. I'm not saying that you will, but it is an adequate reason for the vaccination, especially in Thailand, Malaysia and Fiji.

Rabies will have to be your decision. I don't normally recommend it unless someone will be spending most of their time in rural areas or working with the animal population. Again, Dani is correct - the vaccinations will not give your 100% immunity to the disease, but only give you approximately 24 hours more time to get medical attention. You will be required to receive at least 3-5 more injections if you contract the disease. As for the boosters, most physicians will have you tested for a rabies titre (how much antibody is in your blood) about every 2 years before giving the boosters. Some people metabolize the antibodies more quickly than others. (While working in the research field, we were required to be vaccinated and titres were required every 2 years to assess the need for boosters.) Dani's friend is a good example of why the vaccinations should be given, but again, it is assessing your own travel area and the risks involved. Accidents do happen, just not very often when you also use common sense to help protect yourself.

4. Posted by 3smees23 (Budding Member 8 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hello peeps,

Myself and a mate are off RTW in 4 weeks, a couple of months ago we set about getting all the vaccinations we needed. We have different doctors who told us different things regarding hep B. My doctor explained that hep B is essential while my mates doctor said this was primarily for health workers. As you may already know hep B can be transmitted through body fluids, such as blood and through sex, so if your not a naughty boy with regards to the latter then you should be fine. Yet I decided to not take this risk as my parents are paying for my jabs!

From the facts I have gathered through my doctor I believe that the rabies jab is a complete waste of money. If you have been vaccinated and get bitten by an animal then you will still need to seek medical help. It just gives you 48 hours to do so rather than the 24 hours you would have without being vaccinated. Too be extra safe then don’t take the risk by getting close to them in the first place.

I hope this helps!


5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Hello Ricardo

No, I dont get these vaccinations.
It is OK, to get the rabies vaccination, after u are bitten, by an animal. I was bitten, by a monkey, in Thailand, and a nurse there, told me I could get the first injection, anytime within 2 weeks, after the bite.
Hep B is not an easy disease to get, unless u are very promiscuous, or share needles with drug users.


6. Posted by carosterns (Full Member 159 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

If you have rabies injections before you go, get bitten by something, you will have to go through a series of three shots any way. When I left for Africa my doctors advice was - Don't get bitten, but if you do, get the shots then. Apparently the shots hurt as well so avoid it while you can.

7. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

They do hurt, for sure Caro stern.
I think I had more than 3. It was more like 6. The injections go into a muscle, and that is why they hurt. They even left bruises on my arms. And there was some aching in my arm, for a while, after some of them. Certainly not somthing to have done, unless one really needs it.;)


8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Before too much misinformation is disseminated, here are the regimens for prophylactic rabies vaccinations:

WHO recommendations:
Such immunization should preferably consist of three full intramuscular doses of cell-culture rabies vaccine given on days 0, 7 and 21–28 (a few days’ variation in the timing is not important). For adults, the vaccine should always be administered in the deltoid area of the arm; for young children, the anterolateral area of the thigh is also acceptable. The gluteal area should never be used, since vaccine administration in this area results in lower neutralizing antibody titres.

CDC recommendations:
Preexposure prophylaxis consists of three doses of rabies vaccine given on days 0, 7, and 21 or 28. Current vaccines are relatively painless and are given in your arm, like a flu or tetanus vaccine.

UK Dept. of Health recommendations:
For primary pre-exposure immunisation, three doses of 1.0ml of rabies vaccine should be given on days 0, 7 and 28. The third dose can be given from day 21 if there is insufficient time before travel.

The amount of pain involved with receiving the injections will be also depend upon other factors, such as the person giving the injection (some are more "heavy-handed" than others), how relaxed the arm muscle is at time of injection, and how much one uses that arm after injection. Taking a recommended dosage of ibuprofen following the vaccination will lessen the inflammatory response of muscle stiffness and redness/soreness at the injection site. One also has to take into consideration how many injections are given at one time in a single arm - ie: Hep, tetanus, rabies, etc.

9. Posted by Pardus (Respected Member 2356 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I did get a rabies for my Zambia trip because I knew there was a high possibility that I'd be handling animals while emptying traps and similar. And it didn't hurt for me, maybe that's because I have the habit of looking away when getting injections (I can't watch needles penetrate skin..). But I don't think it's necessary unless you're likely to handle animals or spend a lot of time in rural areas.

As for Hep B, I got the Twinrix injection which combines Hep A and B. I am not sure if that's available at your end of the world.

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