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Rabies, do I need it?

Travel Forums General Talk Rabies, do I need it?

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1. Posted by Jodie.82 (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!


I'm setting off round the world in June and am unsure whether to get a Rabies Vaccination or not, I've read so much advice on the vaccinations and it seems to be recommended but I don't know whether you can get over worried and end up getting too many immunisations that are really neccesary!
I'm going to the following countries, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Boliiva & Chile, New Zealand, Oz, Thailand, Bali & India

what do people think? at £50 each shot for 3 shots I don't want to get it unless I really need it?
Also what about Hep B as that seems to be reccommended these days I know you can only contract this through certain ways but what if something awful was to happen?????


2. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1030 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

No. Forget about Rabies shot. 25 years of travelling, NEVER been bitten by an animal

Funny thread title, by the way

3. Posted by Jodie.82 (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

ha ha yes could be taken the wrong way!
excellent thats what I wanted to hear!
25 years travelling!!! I want to be you lol!

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Definitely skip the rabies vaccination. Unless your will be volunteering for an animal rescue program or camping in the wilds for most of your trip (even that one's an iffy reason), your risk of exposure is extremely low on the scale. Use common sense such as avoid petting the cute monkeys and stray dogs, just as you would at home. I've had the vaccinations because they were required while employed in a previous endeavor. I still am of the belief they are not a necessity for traveling.

Travel Guide - Rabies contains useful info and links to rabies and health-related sites (CDC, Mayo Clinic, etc.).

I do cast my vote for the Hep. B inoculations. Routes of transmission can be from sexual encounters, tattoo parlors, piercings and medical/dental procedures - to name a few examples. Granted, you may not engage in any of the first items while away, but accidents requiring medical attention due at times happen. (Well, they happen to me.)

I am a firm believer in Hep A & B and tetanus vaccinations. You'll be protected while away and even at home. Not a bad thing.

Travel Guide - Hepatitis A
Travel Guide - Hepatitis B
Travel Guide - Tetanus

Hope that helps.

5. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Although I did have recent other experiences which made me think a little different about it, I am with Piecar and Isadora here. It is not a necessity of travelling.

I do want to add one slightly different meaning though: the chance of getting it is always low for the ones that are not theoretically exposed. The chance of getting bitten/exposed is low if you do normal travel, but remember that IF something happens immediate treatment in India in particular (especially rural areas and smaller cities) is not of the same standard as in many many other countries, even all of the others you are going to. Some of the best doctors in the world are India, but demand of immediate right treatment there is much higher than supply.

Just a personal extra thought of me, still nothing to worry about. Just seek immediate help IF, again IF, something happens. For the rest, just check the good and complete advice Isa gave, plus the link to the travelguide.

6. Posted by Jodie.82 (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

thanks so much Isadora & Utrecht for your advice which was so useful :) i'm not goign to have the rabies jab, I didn't think I needed it but a lot of people when I have said I am goign travelling are of the mind set that you should have everything thats even slightly recommended! Hep B i'm going to have, alogn with Yellow Fever & diptheria, I'm already covered for Hep A & tetanus.
next dilemna.............. malaria tablets!!

7. Posted by harissa (Budding Member 38 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Here's a useful link for what vaccinations and malaria pills are needed for where, plus a load of other info on medical matters for travelling:

You can also email the travel doctor with any questions - I got an answer to mine within a couple of days.

The key thing to remember with malaria is that not all pills are effective in all parts of the world. The above site has a malaria page which which may give you an idea what to talk to your doctor about (my doctor told me to speak to a pharmacist and then tell him what prescription to write!)

8. Posted by Jodie.82 (Budding Member 29 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

thanks harissa I will def use that link
my doctors are the same I thought it was terrible! they don't offer any vaccination advice at all, I had to request what jabs I wanted from them in writing, go back 48 hours later for the prescription (which costs £10) take that to the pharmacy, get the jabs then book the appointment for the nurse to administer them!!

9. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Looking at your list of destination, 3 anti-malarials will be effective across the board - Doxycycline, Larium™ (mefloquine) and Malarone™ (atovaquone/proguanil combination). If you choose to use a prophylaxis, I recommend doxycycline over the other two medications. You will be taking it every day, versus the once a week dosage of the others, but it is as effective and has the least side effects.

  • Malarone is effective but a bit of overkill as it is a combination medication. It is also quite expensive. It is not available over the counter in any country (prescription only). Very little long-term use information is available on this combo drug. Vivid dreams are a common side effect.
  • Larium is one of the quinine derivatives (sister drug to chloroquine) and is known for producing unpleasant side effects. Strange dreams tend to be the biggest complaint though hallucinations and eractic behavior are not uncommon. Women are more prone to experience side effects than are men. It is available as an OTC in some countries
  • Doxycycline is a low-dose antibiotic. Side effects can include increased sensitivity to the sun (sunburn more quickly) and severe heartburn if taken without food or beverage. Avoid taking it at least one hour before going to bed to avoid acid reflux. Most people have no side effects at all. Doxy has a very large amount of long-term use info available and can be taken for up to 2 years non-stop. It is available as an OTC in many countries. This drug can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Though it does not render them ineffective (just drops the levels for a short period of time), the use of condoms or other contractive methods is recommended for the first 3 weeks of administration.
  • Chloroquine is not an effective anti-malarial for all but one of the countries - that being Argentina - due to the chloroquine-resistant strains of the parasite. Doxy and the others also are recommended for Argentina. Chile, NZ and OZ are not malarial areas. Whether you will be taking a drug while in those countries will depend on your travel time (length of whole trip) and length of stay in each destination.

For more information:

Travel Guide - Malaria (includes anti-malarial med info)

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Destination List
Click on the specific country and scroll about halfway down the page for the malaria info.

[ Edit: Edited on 28-Apr-2010, at 06:19 by Isadora ]

10. Posted by harissa (Budding Member 38 posts) 7y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jodie - what a palaver! I only had to go through that for my malaria tablets. The numerous jabs I had were more straightforward. I managed to get all except yellow fever through direct appointments with the nurse. I got my YF at a MASTA clinic - which are worth checking out. Although they're private they can be cheaper for some things.

I'm still taking doxycycline, as an anti-malarial, following a few weeks in Africa. I've had no real problems with it, though I would recommend using plenty of high factor sunscreen. I don't usually burn easily but on one occasion where I had no option but to be in strong sun for a couple of hours I did burn, despite using sunscreen that would normally have sorted me out for at least twice as long. But that was one problem in 6 weeks. I wouldn't hesitate to use it again. Another advantage is that it's the cheapest - although this alone shouldn't be the deciding factor when it comes to health.