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WHAT IS RABIES?

Rabies is a rare viral infection of animals that can be transmitted to humans. It is caused by a virus of the Rhabdoviridae family, which attacks the central nervous system and eventually affects the brain.

The virus is usually found in the saliva of an infected animal.

RABIES IS ALMOST ALWAYS FATAL ONCE SYMPTOMS OCCUR.

Rabies is a deadly disease that can be passed on to humans by the saliva of an infected animal through:

  • BITES
  • LICKS ON SCRATCHES OR BROKEN SKIN
  • LICKS ON MUCOUS MEMBRANES (E.G., EYES, MOUTH)

Treatment should be prompt following rabies exposure, as rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms develop. Pre-exposure immunization and post-exposure prophylaxis induces the body to produce virus neutralizing antibodies that provide protection against the rabies virus.

IN CANADA, THE ANIMALS THAT MOST OFTEN TRANSMIT RABIES ARE:

IF YOU FIND A BAT IN YOUR HOME OR COTTAGE, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT...

  • Over half of Canadian rabies cases reported in the past 2 years were bat rabies.
  • Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis should be considered for any direct contact with bats and when bites, scratches or saliva exposure into a wound or mucous membrane cannot be excluded.

AM I AT RISK?

You are at risk if you are in contact with potentially rabid animals:

  • Laboratory workers, veterinarians
  • Animal control workers, animal handlers, wildlife workers
  • Cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Hunters or trappers in areas with confirmed rabies
  • Any person whose activities bring them into frequent contact with rabies virus or rabid bats, raccoons, skunks, cats and dogs
  • Any child who may not understand the need to stay away from animals or to report any bite

YOU ARE AT RISK IF YOU TRAVEL OR PLAN TO TRAVEL TO HIGH-RISK AREAS

Risk to travellers varies depending on itinerary, purpose and duration of the trip, as well as activities and access to medical care.Travellers to rabies-endemic areas where there is poor access to adequate and safe post-exposure management, as well as frequent and long-term travellers to high-risk areas, should seriously consider receiving pre-travel rabies immunization.

  • Rabies is present on all continents, except Antarctica.
  • Are you traveling to areas such as Thailand, Brazil, China, Vietnam, India, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa or Asia?
  • These represent only some of the areas where rabies remains common.

RABIES OCCURRENCES

ASSESS YOUR RISK

It is strongly recommended that your travel plans include contacting a travel clinic, your pharmacist or a physician at least 6 weeks before departure.

Based on your individual risk assessment, a healthcare professional can determine your need for immunizations and/or preventative medication and advise you on precautions to avoid disease.

TAKING RABAVERT®

For pre-exposure, primary immunization consists of three injections:

A BOOSTER DOSE IS AVAILABLE IF YOU HAVE ALREADY TAKEN A FULL COURSE OF RABAVERT®

IN A STUDY ON TRAVEL-RELATED RABIES, THE ANIMAL CARRIERS WERE:

If travel is in your plans, ask your healthcare professional about the risk of rabies and RabAvert®, a vaccine used to prevent rabies for over 15 years in Canada.

WHO TO TALK TO?

Physician

Pharmacist

Travel clinician

Nurse

RECOMMENDED BY THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION (NACI)

NACI, a Canadian committee of experts charged with making recommendations about the use of vaccines, recommends that individuals who have an ongoing high risk of being exposed to rabies receive:

  • Rabies vaccination
  • Booster vaccination when necessary

Ask your healthcare professional about RabAvert®.

ARE YOU COVERED?

You may be covered for RabAvert® with your private insurance. Contact your insurance provider and give the DIN (drug identification number) below to find out.

RabAvert® DIN: 02267667

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