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Protect yourself before travelling

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AS A precaution travellers are being urged to get a rabies jab and avoid animals while on holiday.

Experts writing in the British Medical Journal have warned that even though rabies cases are rare, people should still take precautions when travelling to affected areas.

Rabies is an acute viral infection of the central nervous system, which kills at least 40,000 people around the world each year. It is usually transmitted through a dog bite, but is also spread from other animals including foxes, wolves, racoons, skunks and bats.

Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are all areas where rabies is more common. Around 90 per cent of deaths happen in the developing world – particularly in India, where dogs roam freely around the countryside and streets.

The researchers issued the following warning: “Travellers need to know whether they are visiting a country where rabies is endemic, and that any dog bite in such a country must be taken seriously by the recipient and any medical staff dealing with the patient subsequently. Although rabies is more likely after the bite of a stray or rabid dog, this case shows that even an apparently innocuous bite from a pet must be considered carefully, especially if it was unprovoked”.