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Rabies Vaccination?

Houston, TX
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189 posts
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Rabies Vaccination?

Hi everyone!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US recommends a pre-exposure Rabies series for Botswana. My husband and I are going on safari there in May. These shots are very expensive, $300 each, and there are 3 of them in the series. So this is very expensive.

I know there was a previous thread here:

tripadvisor.com/…33676476

But it didn't cover all of my questions, and the thread is pretty old.

I know that you need more injections after you have been exposed. This difference is with the pre-exposure shots, you only 2 instead of 4 rabies shots and you don't need the Rabies Immune Globulin.

Now if someone on safari were bitten by a rabid animal, what would be the protocol? Are there medical facilities with the rabies shots and the Rabies Immune Globulin?

This also makes me wonder if in general in anywhere in the world, you are bitten by an animal. It may or may not be rabid, as it can take a while to show symptoms. You have to send the animal off for testing to find out if it was rabid or not. If the test is positive, then you get the injections. All of this can take some time, so it seems to me you can just get the rabies injections when you get home?

Washington DC...
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1. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

I've never heard of any safari-goer getting vaccinations for rabies ahead of the trip.

Here's something from mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/…botswana.php that seems sensible. If you're on a standard safari, I wouldn't think any of this applies to you. In the unlikely event you are bitten, you could be moved quickly to a health facility for treatment.

"Rabies vaccine is recommended for travelers spending a lot of time outdoors, for travelers at high risk for animal bites, such as veterinarians and animal handlers, for long-term travelers and expatriates, and for travelers involved in any activities that might bring them into direct contact with bats."

Pretoria, South...
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2. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

ROFL! In 50 years of travelling and working in our rabies infected country (as a guide, ranger, engineer and a lot of other things), and seing millions of animals and touched many thousands of wild and domestic animals, in every situuation, I have yet to see a ribid anaimal. I heard of a rabid horse somewhere.

I have never heard of a single person in Southern Africa contracting rabies (but I'm sure the media can find one).

The CDC should be incarcerated for life well away from the human race for criminal misinfornation and fear-mongering. They are probably the biggest waste of three letters on the planet.

If you get bitten, find a doctor.

Edited: 19 March 2012, 22:47
Georgia
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3. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

Hi, my husband and I are also going to S.A. and Botswana in May so we are in the process of getting all of the recommended shots. We looked into the rabies shots.. but decided (based on the CDC info and also our travel agent) that unless we would be staying for an extended time in a village where there is a likelihood of being bitten by a rabid dog (we aren't), it is totally unnecessary and overkill to get the rabies vaccinations.

I think from what I've read that we are much more likely to be bitten by a rabid animal (raccoon, dog, bat, fox, etc) here in S. Georgia then in Botswana... so we aren't going to worry about it. Of course, as you indicate, maybe one reason we are complacent about getting shots is that here, if we are bitten, we can always get to a dr. right away......I can't advise as to how long you can wait after being bitten to begin rabies prevention shots-- but I'm sure there is info on that on the internet.

Have a great trip!

Pickering, United...
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4. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

"I think from what I've read that we are much more likely to be bitten by a rabid animal (raccoon, dog, bat, fox, etc) here in S. Georgia then in Botswana" - couldn't agree more!

As for the time factor, most of us would have medivac insurance to whisk us away if necessary. After all, a bad bite may well need antibiotics and/or sutures, too.

Georgia
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5. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

Thanks for agreeing with my comments, Safarifriend! ;-) Now, if you could please take a look at a similar question I just posted about Typhoid shots, I would really appreciate it!

Thanks

p.s. I meant "than" in Botswana -- not "then" in Botswana ;-)

Houston, TX
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6. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

Thanks everyone for your feedback! We will not be getting the rabies vaccine :)

Birmingham, United...
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7. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

The problem isn't so much the dogs but monkeys that have been fed by others and have often become fearless in the persuit of food.

Pretoria, South...
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8. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

LOL Safariman,

The problem is not monkeys that have become fearless in their pursuit of food. The problem is misinformation about health risks.

You can't get rabies from a monkey bite, unless the monkey is rabid. You might get a serious infection (or ... maybe ... TETANUS! OMW, such a dreaded concept!!!!).

But ... I have yet to see a rabid animal, I have yet to see (or hear of) a serious monkey bite, and I have never ever personally heard of anyone who contracted rabies or tetanus! Never ever! Agreed ... I don't watch the news. I'm sure the media can unearth a story or two.

Edited: 30 March 2012, 07:34
Hong Kong, China
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9. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

Hi

I am paranoid and with trips to India, Sri Lanka and Africa I always get the rabies shot (mainly because I nearly got bitten once by a monkey in Borneo - lesson learnt don't look them direct in the eye) - but I've never been close to any issues anywhere else and even I'm not planning to get the shots again.

But typhoid - thats a definate living in Asia andaware of problems with standards also in Africa won't be stopping that one.

C

Georgia
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659 posts
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10. Re: Rabies Vaccination?

Thanks, this is helpful.

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