World Rabies Day takes place this year on 28 September. Led by the Alliance for Rabies Control and supported by numerous organisations worldwide, including the Well Travelled Clinic at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, it aims to reinforce the message that rabies is a totally preventable disease and to raise money for local rabies control programmes.
Rabies is a fatal disease of the nervous system contracted by contact with the saliva from infected mammals such as cats, dogs, monkeys and bats. The most common method of transmission is via a bite or lick to an open wound, but can also occur following licks to the face. Children are at increased risk as they are more likely to have contact with animals and less likely to seek help if they are bitten.
Dr Lisa Ford, Medical Advisor at the Well Travelled Clinic, said: “Rabies is 100 % preventable and all travellers should seek country-specific travel health advice including information about rabies prior to travel. Vaccination prior to travel consists of a course of three injections usually given over one month and is available here and at other specialist travel health centres.
“Unvaccinated travellers exposed to rabies whilst abroad require a month long course of rabies vaccine treatment. Vaccination prior to travel simplifies the treatment upon return to two rabies vaccines given three days apart.”
Worldwide, the World Health Organisation estimates that 55,000 people needlessly die each year of rabies, half of which are children aged under 15. A further ten million people receive post-exposure treatment annually.
The UK is considered to be rabies-free, however there have been 24 human deaths in the UK from imported rabies infections since 1902. There have also been reported cases of rabies in bats.
For further information on World Rabies Day visit www.worldrabiesday.org
For further information, please contact:
Alan Hughes, Communications Manager
Office: +44 (0)151 705 3308
Mobile: +44 (0)7759 243969
Notes to Editors
The Well Travelled Clinic at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is a centre of excellence providing a pre- travel advice, vaccination and malaria prophylaxis service to the travelling public of the North West.
All proceeds are reinvested into research and development within the clinic and LSTM. Those visiting the clinic support the work done by LSTM to control diseases of poverty and to develop more effective systems for health care in the less developed countries in the tropics and sub-tropics.
For an appointment or more information contact: 0151 705 3223. Drop in clinics are held Monday to Friday 8:30 - 12 noon. Afternoon appointments are also available with late night openings Tuesdays and Thursdays.