Haiti – FLASH Travel Warning : Increase in rabies in Haiti
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States Federal Agency for the Protection of Public Health, issued a travel advisory for Haiti after reports of annual dog vaccination campaigns have been halted in Haiti and health officials have reported an increase in rabies in dogs in that country.
Additionally, health officials are warning travelers that the human rabies vaccine is limited in Haiti, so if you are exposed to rabies you may not be able to get proper treatment.
Rabies is almost always fatal if left untreated, but it can be prevented by getting rabies post-exposure treatment (PEP) as soon as possible after and before symptoms appear. Be prepared to travel to the United States (or another region) to receive this treatment. Because of the above, the CDC recommends considering medical evacuation insurance.
Advice from CDC for travelers to Haiti :
- Do not touch dogs, puppies, cats, kittens or other animals, even if they are pets. Even animals that appear healthy can spread rabies;
- Watch children closely, especially around dogs and puppies, cats and kittens and local wildlife;
- If you are traveling with pets, have them vaccinated against rabies before travel.
In case of bites or scratches :
Act quickly if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal, immediately wash the sores with soap and running water for at least 15 minutes. Seek immediate medical attention even if you do not feel ill, the injury does not appear to be serious, or have been vaccinated against rabies before travel.
Consider rabies vaccine before travel :
If possible, get yourself vaccinated against rabies before travel. The pre-exposure rabies vaccine series is given as three injections over three to four weeks. However, people who receive the full set of pre-exposure rabies vaccine still require immediate medical attention after any animal bite or scratch.