Understanding Rabies – prevention and cure

Rabies is a preventable viral disease most commonly transmitted through the bite of a Rabid animal. The disease affects animals in the same way that it affects humans by attacking the central nervous system and ultimately affecting the brain and leading to death.   There is a rabies vaccine for humans and this is offered at many high street pharmacists like superdrug who provide the rabies vaccineTouchwood Pharmacy offers the rabies vaccination at their travel clinics in Bromley and you can also receive the rabies vaccination at our immunisation service in Ramsgate.  

What does the rabies vaccine for humans involve?

The rabies vaccine is administered as injections into the upper arm.  Three doses of vaccine are given over a period of 28 days so always plan your vaccinations ahead of your travel plans so you can receive the full course.

Even if you have had the rabies vaccination, you should still protect yourself from exposure to potentially rabid animals whilst you are on your travels and avoid being bitten or scratched.  If you are bitten or scratched you should take medical advice even if you have had the rabies vaccination.  Public Health England provides a useful leaflet about the rabies risks for travellers.

Is there a treatment for rabies?

There is a special medical treatment for rabies called post-exposure treatment if you have been bitten or scratched by a potentially rabid animal.  The wound should be cleaned and disinfected immediately and medical assistance is to be sought which will involve administering a course of the rabies vaccine if you have not been vaccinated against rabies before -- 4 doses over a month – or 2 doses a few days apart if you have already had the rabies vaccination.  Post-exposure treatment for rabies should be started as quickly as possible after the suspected bite or scratch.  There is more information about rabies on World Rabies Day which is held every year on September 28th.

If you are travelling to parts of the world where rabies is endemic or have a prolonged stay planned in a high-risk area where access to medical treatment is scant, then you should consider having a rabies vaccination.  You can book a rabies vaccination at our travel clinic in Ramsgate or make an appointment for a rabies vaccination at our centre in BromleyLearn more about this disease and how to book your rabies vaccination on our website https://www.touchwoodpharmacy.com/