Rabies is one of the deadliest infections known to humans. But, it’s also 100% preventable.
So, in order to help you better understand this virus, Tropical Medical Bureau are here to tell you the truth behind the most common misconceptions about rabies…
‘Rabies is only transmitted by animal bites’
Rabies can also be transmitted through contact with the saliva of an infected animal. The likes of licks or scratches from rabid animals can transmit the virus.
Yes, bites are the most common transmission but when saliva enters any open wound or mucus membrane, the potential to catch rabies is just as likely.
‘It will be obvious if an animal is rabid’
We’re all guilty of having an idea in our head of what a rabid animal will look like and so, of course we’d notice one immediately if we were to see one – false.
Not all affected animals demonstrate clear and visible signs of the illness. With that said, it’s important to always avoid contact with warm blooded animals – such as cats, dogs or even monkeys.
‘I don’t need to worry about rabies in the United States’
Canine rabies isn’t much of an issue in the United States but that doesn’t mean the disease isn’t something to worry about.
In fact, rabies can still be transmitted to humans from wild animals such as prairie dogs, raccoons, foxes, skunks and of course bats.
‘I would easily notice an animal bite’
Studies have shown that in both Canada and the United States, most human rabies infections are associated with bats!
These small creatures tend to leave even smaller puncture wounds – scratches and bites that may not be completely noticeable to the human eye.
‘If I really had rabies, the symptoms would have appeared shortly after I was bitten’
Following the bite of an infected animal, symptoms of the virus can take weeks, months or years to appear.
The length of time before symptoms appear can vary based on where on the body you’ve been bitten and the amount of virus injected. Wild animals tend to be the highest risk.
‘The vaccine just gives me more time to seek treatment’
Actually, the vaccine works by teaching your immune system how to produce the protective antibodies against this horrific disease. After any possible exposure you’ll need to boost those antibodies to a higher level to be certain that you are protected.
We hope you find the truth behind the misconceptions about rabies helpful! For more travel health tips and advice call your local TMB clinic and book in to speak with one of our qualified professionals.
To book an appointment for vaccinations and see a list of our base and associate clinics, please contact Tropical Medical Bureau on 00-353-1-2715-200 or visit www.tmb.ie.
Phone: 086 0492394