Do I really need a Rabies vaccination?
Replies: 20 - Last Post: May 8, 2008 10:43 PM Last Post By: joyasia
May 7, 2008 5:56 AM
Do I really need a Rabies vaccination?Hi - I'm flying to Thailand in a couple of weeks and it has been suggested I get a vaccination for Rabies. I just wondered if this was strictly necessary as it costs over 100 pounds. Could I not get it cheaper in Thailand? I have read that you still need to get boosters if you are bitten anyway, although, of course, far less treatment than if you didn't have it in the first place. How about Japanese Encephalitis? I've had all the other vaccinations.
May 7, 2008 7:19 AM
1A doctor is the best place to go for this information. You should be seriously critical of what may end up being written here. That being said, I didn't get the Jap. E. shot. It is low risk, and it is seriously expensive here in the states. I don't intend to work in a rice field, else I would probably get it. Rabies on the other hand I would strongly consider. Stray dogs are virtually everywhere. I have never had a problem with any of them, but that isn't saying it doesn't happen. I would shell out the money or get the shot in Thailand. I am not knowledgeable enough about this inoculation to know how long one would have to wait before it would be effective in the event of infection.
May 7, 2008 7:47 AM
2For a standard tourist trip you don't need (by this I mean the majority of tourists don't get it) the rabbies vaccine but of course seek medical help if you are bitten or licked or whatever. Don't be tempted to pat stray dogs etc! If you were working with animals in Thailand it might be a different story. It would be no point getting the shot in Thailand unless staying for a long time as vaccines take time to have an effect.
Sure a travel doctor might be the best place for advice but if there is no travel clinic near you I often find the GP or nurse to be pretty clueless what vaccines you actually need as they seem to get their info printed off the internet as well.
Disclaimer: these are my opinions only and I am not a doctor!
May 7, 2008 11:13 AM
3rabies jab isnt worth it, i mean if you are bit by an infected dog then you have like 10 hours to find a hospital thats it..
and go to wales.. the jabs are free :) i had some free yesterday but im not sure if some of these are free anyway.. hepititis A, B, Typhoid, Jap E, Tetinus im having Diphtheria in 2 weeks..
look at http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk/index.htm
May 7, 2008 11:40 AM
hope that link works....a thread about costs and risks and good healthy debate ;-)
May 7, 2008 1:27 PM
May 7, 2008 1:33 PM
May 7, 2008 1:47 PM
May 7, 2008 2:23 PM
8In humans, symptoms usually develop after three to eight weeks. In some cases, symptoms have appeared as early as nine days and as long as seven years after exposure.
Post exposure treatment is basically 100% effective if initiated before symptoms occur, i.e 9 days, say 7 to be safe, after being bitten. Once symptoms develop, rabies is usually fatal.
May 7, 2008 4:11 PM
9Thanks everyone. Great link from joyasia to a thread on the same thing. I think I will take my chances, although there was a terrible, brilliantly terrible, programme on British TV years ago about rabies and it scared the hell out of me then! As long as you can get to medical facilities within 4 or days - to be safe - it looks okay. If I stay in Thailand longer I will get the shots there as it is much cheaper.
May 7, 2008 5:20 PM
10#7 Saw my travel doctor yesterday for my injections and he said a similar time.. 10 hours or a bit more, I can't remember exactly.
I didn't get a rabies booster as there's good medical treatment for this stuff in Thailand.. for obvious reasons.
May 7, 2008 7:54 PM
11It's true the vaccine needs a week or so to take effect.
But that means that if you haven't had the vaccine and are bit, you'll be unprotected until the vaccine takes effect in a week or so. If rabies develops in that week, you'll be dead.
So to protect yourself during that week, you'll need shots ASAP of something called HRIG, which gives immediate protection. The problem with HRIG is that it can be very expensive -- hundreds of dollars, even in Thailand -- and can be very difficult to find outside Bangkok, since it's short-lived and expensive to stock.
If you've had vaccine shots beforehand, you'll still need booster shots of the vaccine ASAP after you've been bit, but won't need HRIG.
The vaccine, unlike HRIG, is not expensive in Thailand, less than US$20/dose.
May 7, 2008 8:17 PM
May 7, 2008 8:18 PM
13As LT said, go see a doctor - with specific expertise in travel medicine or disease. The risk is yours and, if you are going to take the risk, then fine, just do it after consulting a travel doctor (or similar specialist). Rabbies is always handy to have - apart from rabbies free UK. It is a nasty disease.
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