is an acute viral infection of the nervous system. Its symptoms include delirium and painful muscle spasms in the throat. Once symptoms develop in human beings, the disease is usually fatal.
Rabies occurs in animals in Europe and North America as well as in the less developed countries. You can contract the disease if you are bitten by any infected animal. So be careful not to touch any animals, whether wild, stray or apparently 'tame'. If you are bitten, 'post-exposure' treatment - if given early enough - usually prevents the disease developing.
If you are bitten by an animal while away from the United Kingdom:
- Wash the wound immediately, using soap or detergent; or flush with clean water. Apply alcohol if possible.
- Get medical attention - FAST. Go to the nearest doctor or hospital. You may need a rabies vaccination and the course of injections must be started immediately. Ask for 'human diploid cell vaccine', if possible. In case of any difficulty, contact the nearest British Consular official.
- Note the date and place of the incident, the animal's description and whether it was wild or stray.
- If the animal was not wild or a stray, try to identify its owner as soon as possible to ascertain if it is already - or if it becomes - sick. If the animal can be kept under observation for two weeks following the incident, exchange names, addresses and telephone numbers with the person responsible for it, and arrange to keep in contact to find out whether the animal becomes sick or dies. Find out whether it has had rabies vaccine and ask to see the certificate. But even if one is produced, do not assume there is no risk.
- Inform the local police.
- Whether or not you receive treatment outside the UK, consult your doctor as soon as you return.
Rabies vaccine before travel is only recommended for those who may be exposed to an unusual risk of infection or who are undertaking long journeys in remote areas where medical treatment maynot be immediately available. This vaccine is not normally provided free for travellers under the NHS. Even if you are immunised, however, this does not remove the need for urgent treatment if you are bitten by an infected animal.
Remember that the UK is still rabies free. Keep it that way. Do not bring any animals into the country without a licence. This is not only illegal and involves severe penalties, it could endanger lives. click here
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