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The Vaccine Center is a preventative health and wellness company that recommends vaccines based on Center for Disease Control Guidelines (CDC) for general health, travel, work and school.  It is recommended that travelers that will be at risk of exposure to Rabies have the Human Rabies vaccine.

Who Should Have The Human Rabies Vaccine?

Certain TravelersOccupational Risk
High prevalence of Rabies within country to be visitedVeterinarians
Little or no availability for appropriate Human Rabies Vaccine and Rabies immune globulin for post-exposure careAnimal handlers
Travel to rural areasField Biologists
Embedded within communitiesCavers
Extensive outdoor activities: Running, bicycling, camping, or hiking.Missionaries
Long duration of stay/moving to high-risk destinationCertain Laboratory workers
Children traveling to high-risk destination (because of smaller stature and curiosity and attraction to animals)

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Yellow Book: CDC Health Information for International Travel 2012. New York: Oxford University Press; 2012

International travelers who are likely to come in contact with animals or who are traveling with children are recommended to have the Human Rabies vaccine.  Pre-exposure vaccination may be indicated even for brief stays, if the traveler will be >24 hours from a reliable source of Human Rabies vaccine and Rabies immune globulin.  Also, at The Vaccine Center and Travel Medicine Clinic, we provide Human Rabies vaccination to persons who have been exposed to the Rabies virus and need post-exposure vaccination.

Required vs Recommended:

The Human Rabies vaccine is not required by any country at this time.  This means that a person is permitted to enter the country whether or not they have received vaccination against Rabies.  A recommended vaccine is not required but most authorities feel that a high-risk person should receive the vaccine as the likelihood and severity of disease clearly outweighs any risk from vaccination.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a very serious life-threatening disease.  It is a virus that lives in the rabid mammal’s saliva.  Sometimes the virus can be transmitted by exposure other than bites, for example, a scratch or lick from a rabid animal.  Animals that are the most common sources of Rabies include:

  • Primarily by dogs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
  • Cats, monkeys, tigers, rabbits, rats, mongoose, and squirrels
  • Bats in any part of the world including the USA
  • Foxes and the raccoon dog in Europe, Canada, Alaska, and the former Soviet Union

The virus attacks the nervous system of the victim either rapidly or after an extended period of time.  Once the virus attacks the nervous system, it causes encephalitis.  Encephalitis is an infection or inflammation of the brain.  The disease progresses through stages of fever, weakness or paralysis, spasms of swallowing muscles, delirium, convulsions, and then coma and death.  Rabies is almost always fatal if post-exposure treatment is not given in time.  Persons who may have been exposed to Rabies must seek treatment immediately as this is medically urgent.  Once a person who has Rabies experiences signs and symptoms of the disease, there is no effective treatment and death occurs.  More than 55,000 people die of Rabies every year.

Some History of Rabies:

Rabies has been noted in history since 2300 BC when dog owners in a Babylonian city were fined due to deaths caused by their dogs biting people.  The well-known philosopher Aristotle wrote of Rabies, describing that “dogs suffer from the madness.  This causes them to become very irritable and all animals they bite become diseased.”  In 400 BC, the Greeks have gods that are especially for Rabies, one to prevent Rabies “Arisaeus” and one to heal Rabies “Artemis”.  Rabies first appeared in Europe in the 1700’s, and then in the United States in 1753.  In the mid 1700’s in parts of Europe, dogs were routinely slaughtered and rewards were even offered for killing them due to serious outbreaks of Rabies.

Where is Rabies?

Rabies exists in every continent except Antarctica.  There are certain parts of the world that are higher risk for humans to contract rabies than others.

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The Human Rabies Vaccine:

Human Rabies vaccination is given in different ways depending on if it is for “pre-exposure prophylaxis” (meaning being vaccinated because you are at high-risk and may be exposed to Rabies) or “post-exposure prophylaxis” (meaning you may have already been exposed to Rabies).

Human Rabies vaccine prior to travel is administered in a series of 3 doses:

  • 1st dose on Day 1
  • 2nd dose on Day 7
  • 3rd dose on Day 21 or 28

This is advantageous because if a person has the vaccine series prior to travel, and is then exposed to Rabies, the treatment is only 2 more Rabies vaccines.  If a person is believed to have been exposed to Rabies and has not had the vaccine series prior to travel, the treatment is very extensive.  The treatment includes a blood product called Rabies immune globulin in addition to 5 rabies vaccines.  When traveling abroad, many developing countries have no access to rabies immune globulin, making it necessary for an exposed person to be emergency evacuated to another country that does.  The emergency evacuation, hospital visit, immunoglobulin, and vaccines would cost thousands of dollars in medical expenses, as well as ruin and end that particular trip.

How To Save Money And Get Better Service By Choosing The Right Travel Medicine Clinic:

  1. Only go to clinics that offer both vaccines and prescriptions.  For many itineraries, including Central or South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, CDC guidelines require both vaccinations as well as prescriptions.  For your trip, you may need prescriptions for malaria, travelers’ diarrhea, jet lag, and high-altitude illness prevention.  Some vaccine clinics do NOT offer prescriptions.  Always ask the clinic if they do both.  Otherwise, you may have to pay for two office visits or administrative fees, not to mention the time and inconvenience of having to make two trips to two clinics.  Worse yet, you may go on your trip without knowing you need a prescription.
  2. Only go to clinics that carry all the vaccines available in the United States.  Ask the clinic if they carry hard to find vaccines such as Oral Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, or Rabies vaccine.  Often, some clinics do not carry all vaccines, or they special order them once they find a client.  The Vaccine Center has all vaccines available in the United States in stock.
  3. Only go to clinics that offer you access to a physician if you need it.  Ask the clinic if there is a physician you can talk to if you need to.  Sometimes people have complex medical issues that require physician input.  The Vaccine Center offers access to board- certified physicians if needed.
  4. Only go to clinics that can offer you in-house blood tests to check your immunity to vaccines you know you already had, or have been exposed to in your life.  Always ask the clinic if they offer blood titer testing on premise.  In some cases, you may not need the vaccine.  A blood test (blood titer) can cost a fraction of getting the vaccine again.  Further, The Vaccine Center blood titer testing prices are a fraction of most major labs and we do the blood draw right in our clinic.
  5. Only go to clinics that focus only in vaccine medicine.  Many so called “vaccine clinics” also do urgent care, primary care, occupational medicine, or other unrelated medical services.  The Vaccine Center does no primary care or other unrelated medical services.
  6. Only go to clinics that offer the Yellow Fever vaccine every day.  Some clinics offer this only once every week or two.  Ask the clinic if they offer Yellow Fever vaccines every day.  Since Yellow Fever is required for entry in many countries, this vaccine may be mandatory for your trip.  Also ask the clinic if they are qualified to give you a formal “Yellow Fever Exempt Letter” if you have contraindications to getting the Yellow Fever vaccine.
  7. Only go to clinics that do not charge an administrative fee for follow up visits for vaccines in a series.  Always ask if there is an administrative / office fee for subsequent visits.  All Vaccine Center follow-up visits for vaccines in a series are not assessed an administrative or office visit fee.

Recommended Vaccines

The Vaccine Center and Travel Medicine Clinic has ALL the recommended and/or required vaccines needed for your travel:

Hepatitis ARabies
Hepatitis BTD/Tdap (Tetanus)
Hepatitis A/BTyphoid IM
InfluenzaTyphoid Pills
Japanese EncephalitisVaricella
MeningococcalYellow Fever
MMRZostavax
PneumococcalGardasil (HPV)
Polio
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