Information about the prevalence of rabies in Asia for families traveling with kids. Rabies is not a disease you commonly hear about or associate with family travel with kids, but it is something you should be keeping on your radar. In fact, children are at higher risk of contracting rabies as they are attracted to animals and less likely to be able to avoid scratches and bites from affected animals. For anyone traveling to Asia with kids including destinations like Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji or the Philippines, here are some travel tips from International Medical Clinic in Singapore for how to avoid rabies coming into contact with your family.

What Is Rabies

Rabies is a viral illness affecting a wide range of domestic and wild animals including dogs, monkeys and bats. Rabies is widely distributed across the globe. More than 55,000 people (mostly children) die of rabies each year. About 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa.

Human infection almost always occurs through the bite of an infected animal via its saliva. Infection can also occur from a penetrating scratch or licking of broken skin and mucous membranes. The disease is almost invariably and rapidly fatal.

First Aid For Kids 

Rabies In Asia Pacific

Almost all the countries in the Asia Pacific region have endemic rabies (meaning rabies is regularly found in these countries). The exceptions to this are Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. An outbreak of rabies started on the popular tourist island of Bali in December 2008 with reports of a number of deaths occurring still in 2015. A map showing worldwide risk areas can be found here.

Who is Most at Risk of Contracting Rabies

Tourists spending a lot of time outdoors are at higher risk, especially those who travel with kids. Children are also more likely to be exposed to rabies because they may not report scratches or bites to their parents.

Vaccinations for Kids and Rabies

Vaccinations for kids are effective in preventing the illness and work best if given before exposure. The full rabies vaccination for kids requires multiple injections delivered over several weeks so you should visit your travel doctor at least a few months before you plan to leave for your family holiday.

Travel Vaccinations for Southeast Asia 

If you or your children are exposed to rabies before you get your vaccinations, you may require rabies immunoglobulin within 48 hours of exposure. You should be aware that this may be very difficult to find even in some major cities. It is extremely important to always seek early medical attention after any possible exposure to rabies especially when you travel with kids.

This story is sponsored by International Medical Clinic