Hello, I was looking for some advice on the best thing to do about rabies in Laos...
As far as I know I haven't been bitten, but I do have a lot of cuts and marks on my body from tubing earlier in the week and there were dogs around at the bars. The past 2 days I seem to be developing early rabies symptoms, and they aren't easing up. Obviously it could be anything and I'm probably being over the top but I'd rather be overly safe than dead. Currently I'm still in Vang Vieng so would I have to go the Vientiane to get anything treated? Does it cost a lot of money just to get checked for rabies?
#1 gemuuu has been a member since 24/2/2011. Posts: 6
The only way rabies could have infected you is if you got saliva from an infected dog directly on your wounds. Did a dog lick your open wounds? if so, then get to a hospital, otherwise relax as it is highly unlikely you have rabies.
As far as I know I haven't been bitten
You would know, i would think, if you were bitten by a dog.
What sorts of "rabies symptoms" are you exhibiting? the most common rabies symptom is burning & tingling at the bite site.
You likely have some superficial infection from the dirty river water. In which case I would recommend a good scrub with soap & water and stay out of the river for a few days.
In any SEA countries, there exist rabie dogs but they are not so many except in Phillipines and we travellers normally don't meet them and cannot distinguish which dogs are infected rabie dogs until we face to them directly.
"Rabies" are fatal didesse and if you unfortunately will be bited by rabie dog somewhere, you will 100% die and any hospitals having high-tech medical cares cannot help you from this disease if you didn't take a preventive injection against Rabies.
But it's "when you actually and directly are bited by an infected rabie dog" and you will not be infected in other way.
In Phillipines(i never hate Phillipines people), every year, over 700 people died with "Rabies" bited by infected rabie dogs and several years ago, 2 Japanese tourists(men) were bited by rabie dogs at different places each other and after the apperance of rabie-symptoms, they entered into big hospitals in Japan but both of them died within one year after beeing bited.
Actually many foreign travellers don't take care of it so much and do thier travels without pre-injecton and the reason is maybe it will take "times and costs" and we don't like them.
#3 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82
PS) Sometimes people are suffered from Rabies beeing bited by rabie bats, not only beeing bited by rabie dogs.
#4 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82
Were you bitten by an animal or not? Unless you were drunk/stoned off your head you would remember that crucial answer hopefully.
What are your symptoms? Check http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/symptoms/index.html
Unfortunately a lot of the sympoms could relate to simply having burned the candle at both ends too much (heavy drinking, lack of sleep, or just being run down by long travels associated or not with the above). Also, if you've been into the recent "Pee Mai" new year water splashing you may have taken in some tainted water through the mouth or nose, and this can easily lead to bacterial infections that probably just need time and/or a dose of antibiotics. Seeing examples of that already here in Chiang Mai post-waterwar "injured" folks.
The chance of actually having rabies is very low, but if you're still worried go to a clinic in Vientiane, or Nong Khai in Thailand.
There is only one way to check for rabies, and this usually involves the removal of the head and the taking of several samples of brain tissue for the microscopic examination of Negri bodies. Trust me ... you do not want to go through with this.
Once rabies' symptoms begin, it means the virus has manifested itself in the brain and there is no treatment once this occurs.
As mentioned above, you need to be in contact with the saliva of an infected animal to acquire the virus. Once this happens the virus has to make its way to the brain along neural pathways. Where the transmission occurs is going to determine the amount of time the virus requires to get to the brain. Typically, if someone is bitten or licked on the arm, hand, leg, or foot, and the saliva makes contact with broken skin, it can take a few weeks to a month for the virus to travel to the brain. If the transmission took place on the head, neck or face, it can take about 10 days. You would probably know if a dog or cat or bat bit or licked your face.
Here in Canada, post-exposure treatment consists of around 5 or 6 vials of immunoglobulin (to boost the immune system) depending on the patient's weight, followed by 5 shots of vaccine which must be administered over the period of a month (Day 0, 1, 3, 7, 14 and 28). Failure to get all the shots leads to insufficient protection.
If you haven't been in contact with an animal, you're worrying needlessly. You're not going to get the rabies virus unless there's been contact, and you should know whether this happened or not. You're not going to become infected because there are dogs nearby.
Also, there is a lag phase between the time when an animal can transmit the virus and when the animal begins to show symptoms. Typically this is around 4-6 days. So, if you did have contact with an animal but have not seen or heard of any rabid dogs in the town, then it's unlikely anything is wrong. Rabid dogs do not go unnoticed in these towns.
If you had contact, and you're worried, then get to a clinic and talk to someone about post-exposure treatment. If there had been a rabid animal in the town, the people running the clinic would probably know as it would be likely that other people had been exposed.
"The past 2 days I seem to be developing early rabies symptoms, and they aren't easing up"
Honestly, if you suspected something as serious as rabies, wouldn't you just high-tail it to the nearest medical centre?? No offence to my fellow TF'ers, but I'm not sure that TF is where I would come to as first port of call for serious medical advice!
"and there were dogs around at the bars."
Don't forget bats and monkeys. Especially the monkeys. The rotten buggers are everywhere. They are not the cute critters that everyone likes to photographs. They are evil, nasty animals with huge vampire fangs that take great delight in jumping on unsuspecting humans to steal their sunnies, money, cameras, pull on ponytails. If one goes viral on you and sinks those fangs into your arm I'm sure you would remember it.
"Does it cost a lot of money just to get checked for rabies?"
If you are dying of rabies, is money really an issue at this point? Your insurance policy should cover this sort of thing. You DO have insurance, right??
SBE ... I hate explaining that part to pet owners!
Gemuuu ... sorry, I made a mistake. I meant to say that the shots would be required on Day 0, 3, 7, 14 and 28. Please ignore Day 1.
That brings the grand total of required vaccine shots to 5.
"There is only one way to check for rabies, and this usually involves the removal of the head and the taking of several samples of brain tissue for the microscopic examination of Negri bodies. Trust me ... you do not want to go through with this."
So who's head has to come off - the animal or the victim's?
If you have rabies there is no cure - over 98% of cases die. You can get injections - 5 of them over a 4 week period, but you would need to get them immediately.You haven't got rabies unless you were so drunk you didn't know you were bitten. Do you have any love bites from rabid gap year females?
I think OP had already sobered up from his heavy drunkness and headed to his next destination just after posting here. Probably we all are a bit stupid and too honest.
I've just forgotten the fact that VV is a place where so many such kind of travellers are gathering today.
#14 tf_geckozy has been a member since 2/9/2008. Posts: 82