Across the world, September 28 marks World Rabies Day – a global initiative that aims to raise awareness of the fatal impact of the viral disease and the importance of prevention through immunisation.
According to Rabies Alliance rabies is responsible for an estimated 59,000 deaths a year world-wide.
Rabies is endemic throughout South East Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe.
Humans are exposed to rabies through the spread of saliva from animals that carry the virus. Often a direct result of an animal bite or from an open wound coming into contact with rabid saliva, the virus travels through the bloodstream and into the brain.
Around 40 per cent of rabies cases in humans are contracted from a rabid dog bite, and occur in children under the age of 15, often due to their smaller body sizes.
When someone becomes infected with rabies, the first symptoms are usually recognised within three-to-eight weeks of exposure.
According to NPS MedicineWise, some early warning signs for rabies may include appetite loss, fever, muscle aches, tiredness, anxiety, nausea and vomiting.
Therefore, as we approach the holiday season, we urge all Australians to be cautious and well prepared before heading overseas to a rabies-endemic nation.
If you’re concerned about rabies, or planning to travel to a disease-endemic location, be sure to visit your doctor (ideally a Travel Doctor), six-to-eight weeks prior to departure, for a rabies vaccination.
To help spread the word, hashtag #TogetherAgainstRabies on Twitter to share the importance of vaccination against rabies that is 99.9 per cent fatal if not treated by sharing an insightful 3D animated video on Rabies.