What is Rabies?
Rabies is an acute viral infection which is spread by the bite of an infected animal. In developing countries, rabies is usually contracted by the bite of an infected dog and can lead to an infection of the brain and nervous system, which is almost invariably fatal.
What Are The Symptoms?
Although you may have been bitten by an animal with rabies, it is not certain that you will be infected. However, if you are, it will normally take between 2 and 8 weeks before you experience any symptoms, depending on the severity and position of the wound - although in some instances it can take up to two years. Early symptoms may include:
- Pain and itching at site of bite
- General feeling of being unwell
As the disease begins to infect the central nervous system, you may experience:
- Throat spasms
- Difficulty swallowing
- Irrational fear of water (hydrophobia)
Rabies is almost always fatal - with death resulting from paralysis of the muscles that are used for normal breathing. Once the symptoms of rabies have appeared, there is no treatment.
How Is It Contracted?
The most common mode of transmission to humans is through bites and scratches from an infected animal - primarily dogs, cats, bats, monkeys, skunks, racoons or foxes. Human to human spread of rabies has not been recorded.
Who Is At Most Risk?
Certain groups of people will be at greater risk than others. These include:
- Overseas travellers visiting the high-risk areas detailed below - especially children who are less aware of the potential risk posed by domestic and wild animals
- People who handle imported animals as part of their jobs
Where Are You At Risk?
Rabies in animals occurs in all continents except Australasia and Antarctica, so travellers can be exposed to rabid animals in any other destination - although most travellers in tourist resorts are at very low risk.
Area which are considered high risk are:
- Eastern and Southern Africa
- Central and South America
- The Far East
The vaccination should be administered in two distinct situations:
- to protect those who are likely to be exposed to rabies e.g. animal handlers, travellers to and workers in high risk areas
- to prevent the establishment of rabies infection following the bite of an infected (or suspected) animal
If you have been exposed to rabies via the bite of an animal, you may also be treated with antibodies to rabies that have been collected from the blood of vaccinated human donors. This gives you protection against rabies until the vaccination becomes effective.
When Should You Be Vaccinated?
Check with your doctor or practice nurse as soon as you have decided where and when you are travelling, and they will advise on an appropriate vaccination schedule.
Does The Vaccine Have Any Side Effects?
Modern rabies vaccines are well tolerated. You may experience tenderness and redness at the site of injection. Occasionally, you may feel generalised aches and headaches.
Source Of information
GlaxoSmithKline, Wikipedia, local doctors, local hospitals, newspaper articles, various.
Travel Related Diseases
Thailand is an incredibly photogenic country, both for its landscapes and its people. Regardless of whether you enjoy large Asian cities, beaches and islands, or rice fields and mountains, Thailand has something for you and it is a dream destination for photographers.
One of the great things about visiting Thailand is that hotels are plentiful and a lot cheaper than in most other countries. I always use Agoda to book hotels in Thailand. The company was established in Thailand and has great local knowledge, as well as a huge inventory of hotels.
If you click on one of the destinations opposite you will get a list of hotel deals from Agoda. It's generally a good idea to book on-line because you will get a good room rate and you won't suffer the disappointment of arriving at a hotel to find that it is full.
I book hotels regularly in Thailand and I have always found Agoda to be the best on-line travel agent. At times I have spent a lot of time researching hotel prices and although other deals sometimes look better at first I always end up returning to Agoda.
If you don't wish to pay for your hotel at the time of booking, Booking.com normally allows you to pay when you check in at the hotel. Some people prefer this method, but I have always found Booking.com to be more expensive than Agoda.
If you want to compare prices between different on-line travel agents (OTAs) for a specific hotel, you can use a company such as HotelsCombined. However, you will normally find that Agoda is the cheapest and therefore you can save yourself time and money by just booking through Agoda in the first place.
Images of Thailand