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Rabies in India - Kerala

21 June 2023

Media in the state of Kerala have reported 2 deaths from rabies in recent days.

The first case was a woman who died on 11 June 2023. She had been scratched by a dog some time previously.

The second case was a man who was bitten on the face by a cat on 22 May 2023. He developed symptoms of rabies and died on 14 June 2023.

Rabies is a fatal but preventable disease of the central nervous system caused by the rabies virus. People are infected when saliva from an infected mammal comes into direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth), usually from a bite, scratch, or lick.

Rabies is invariably fatal once symptoms develop. Only a small number of people with the disease are known to have survived.

Advice to Travellers

All travellers should be:

Children are more vulnerable to rabies than adults, as they are less likely to understand the risk of interacting with animals, less able to defend themselves from an animal attack and may not report a potential exposure.

All travellers to endemic areas should be aware to carry out immediate wound care and seek medical attention immediately following potential exposure.

Effective rabies vaccines are available and prevent clinical rabies from developing. They can be used pre- and post-exposure.

See the TRAVAX Rabies and Rabies post-exposure guidance pages for further information.