Lethal virus which infects travellers who are bitten or scratched by an infected animal. Rabies is deadly unless it’s treated straight away, so travellers in high-risk countries should get help immediately if they are bitten or scratched.

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Key facts around Rabies

Once symptoms are present, rabies is almost always fatal.1 So prevention and early treatment are crucial.


  • How do people catch this disease?

    Being bitten or scratched by infected animals such as dogs, bats or monkeys.3,4 The rabies virus is found in saliva.

  • Which countries are affected?

    Rabies occurs in most countries in the world but some countries, particularly Africa and Asia, are high-risk areas (see map).2

  • What are the symptoms?

    Fever, headache, feeling unwell, pain at the site of the wound.3,4

  • How serious is the disease?

    If rabies symptoms develop, the disease cannot be treated and is generally fatal.1

  • Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions. Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment: https://www.reisemedizincheck.at/en/find-a-travel-health-service
    • Avoid contact with animals that may bite
    • If you are bitten or scratched, the wound should be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a disinfectant.4 Seek medical help immediately.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/rabies (Last accessed October 2022)
  2. World Health Organization. Rabies, countries or areas at risk. 2013. Available online: http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_Rabies_ITHRiskMap.png (Last accessed October 2022)
  3. World Health Organization. Rabies vaccines: WHO position paper. April 2018. Download available online: http://www.who.int/wer/2010/wer8532.pdf
    (Last accessed October 2022)
  4. Gesundheit.gv.at – Tollwut. Available online: https://www.gesundheit.gv.at/leben/gesundheitsvorsorge/reisemedizin/infektionskrankheiten/tollwut (Last accessed October 2022)

20 Feb 2023
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