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116 Queenslanders Returned with Rabies

June 5, 2023 • 2:05 pm CDT
WHO human rabies case map June 5, 2023
(Vax Before Travel)

Queensland Health recently reported the number of potential rabies exposures in returned travelers has increased in 2023, impacting 116 Queenslanders in 2023.

Chief Health Officer Dr. John Gerrard said in a government press release on June 1, 2023, "It is important to seek advice from your doctor or a travel health clinic about the best way to protect yourself before heading overseas, especially if you are traveling to a country where rabies is present."

"For humans, rabies can be deadly - once symptoms develop, it's almost always fatal," Dr Gerrard added. 

Unfortunately, almost 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies annually.

"The risk of rabies infection varies depending on the country you visit and what activities are planned while abroad."

"While the preexposure rabies vaccine can effectively prevent infection, an additional course of post-exposure rabies vaccines may be required in these circumstances."

Rabies is a virus that can be transmitted to humans through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or by being exposed to infected animals' saliva through the eyes, nose, mouth, or broken skin.

In the U.S., bat bites generate more rabies infections than dogs.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its recommendations for rabies preexposure prophylaxis for humans, replacing the three-dose vaccination schedule with a two-dose program.

Several rabies vaccines are available worldwide in 2023.

Note: Article updated with corrected phase on June 12, 2023.

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