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Cambodia forum

Rabies ?! high risk ? anxious - advice please :(

Posted by lizepize on 20/1/2016 at 03:09

Dear all,

My trip for a month is getting closer. I am leaving in 3 weeks and feeling really anxious.

To be honest, I didn't do much research about Laos and Cambodia before deciding on going there.

I went to Thailand and loved it, so I kind of knew what to expect. I didn't knew tough that these areas were high risk zones of rabies. This time I will be packpacking low budget so I'm getting really worried about my potentional risk of rabies. I also assumed if i got the shot, I would be fine. The doctor told me I need to go to a hospital asap. anyway if I get bitten. These countries are FULL of stray dogs so I don't really know how to avoid these situations.

My travel mate wants to travel local and sleep at local houses, but that is even a higher risk apparently. She's not really concerned about these things.

Health care is terrible apparently too in Cambodia so what do I have to do when I get bitten ? Fly to Bangkok ?

Some support and good advice would be nice. Thanks :)

#1 lizepize has been a member since 4/1/2016. Posts: 1

Posted by antoniamitchell on 20/1/2016 at 12:33

Hi Lizepize,

First, try and let your anxiety go, so you can relax and look forward to your trip.

Rabies, although a risk in the area, isn't a high risk to most tourists, because you're unlikely to get bitten by a stray dog or a monkey as long as you're sensible. Simply put: do not attempt to pet or touch any animals.

You are correct that if you do get bitten (or licked on broken skin) by a suspect animal (a wild or stray), then you do need to get a series of rabies shots regardless of whether you've had the inoculations or not. The inoculation is normally only required when people will be days from medical attention (as it gives you a bit more time to get to the hospital), but most places tourists go in SE Asia aren't that far from medical attention (ie., you're not likely to be hiking 3 days into the deep jungle, with no way out except to hike back).

If you're not certain what you should get, talk to your doctor / travel doctor, as they can advise you better than an online forum can. But, most people on here would probably say they don't bother with rabies inoculations, if that sets your mind at ease.

Finally, WRT your last point, it's true that medical attention isn't to a Western standard in Cambodia or Laos. In reality that means that, if you're unlucky enough to become seriously ill or injured, you get your butt medivacked to Bangkok (or a similar regional centre for excellence) for treatment. That's what insurance is for (you've got that, right?).

Have a great trip!

#2 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 569

Posted by mikal83 on 21/1/2016 at 06:15

My wife was scratched by a monkey in Battambang. We went to the hospital there and started a course of 5 injections. Cost was about £10 per jab, which she got at various hospitals in Laos and Thailand. She was the only person out of hundreds we met in 3 months of travel. No one else had a rabies jab or a prob being bitten by a beastie. Dont bother.

#3 mikal83 has been a member since 19/1/2015. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 140

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