Every day, news organizations throughout the world report on rabies and rabies exposure. It is one of the more common diseases that affects both humans and animals. News coverage has led many individuals to wonder whether they or their children need to be vaccinated for the disease. Let’s address those questions here.
Normally, preventative vaccination is recommended as one of the best methods to prevent a disease. Flu, measles, meningitis; these are common vaccinations that virtually everyone receives. But, there are some vaccines, like the rabies vaccination, that prevent diseases that are so uncommon that they become less necessary, at least across the board.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “People at high risk of exposure to rabies, such as veterinarians, animal handlers, rabies laboratory workers, spelunkers, and rabies biologics production workers should be offered rabies vaccine,” as well as international travelers who are likely to come in contact with animals in regions where the disease is widespread.
The average person in a developed nation will most likely never be exposed to rabies in a way that would require preventative vaccination. In 2012, the CDC reported that there was only one documented case of rabies in a human, and 93% of reported animal cases occurred in wild, not domesticated, animals. Unless you are traveling to a region where rabies is common, it is entirely possible that you will never see it.
The CDC wisely notes that staying away from wild animals is the best way to avoid exposure to rabies. However, if you are bitten by a wild animal, always seek immediate medical help, and your medical professional can decide whether you need to be given the vaccine (which is effective pre- and post-exposure).
For more information on rabies and where you can be vaccinated, feel free to contact a Passport Health vaccination specialist.