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Falsified Rabies Vaccine in the Philippines

18 Jul 2019

The World Health Organization has issued a Medical Product Alert (No 8/2019) relating to 3 different falsified rabies vaccines (Verorab, Speeda, and Rabipur) and 1 falsified anti-rabies serum (Equirab) circulating in the Philippines.

No adverse reactions to the products have been reported and investigations and analyses are ongoing to determine their contents and better assess the risk to public health

A rabies vaccine shortage is ongoing in the Philippines.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in a rabies endemic area poses a potential risk of infection.

  • Rabies is the most dangerous of all infectious diseases. There is no recognised treatment once symptoms begin and with the exception of a tiny number of cases, those who develop symptoms of rabies will die.

  • All travellers to rabies endemic areas should be aware of the risk of rabies and advised to avoid contact with animals (both wild and domestic), particularly dogs and cats.

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

  • All travellers to endemic areas should be aware of immediate wound care and advised to seek medical attention immediately if bitten or scratched by an animal.

An effective rabies vaccine is available prior to travel and should be considered for travellers and workers who plan to visit an endemic areas especially

  • Those without access to prompt medical advice, rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin.

  • Those who may be at higher risk of exposure to rabies because of their travel activities (e.g. cycling, running).

  • Children and other vulnerable individuals, who may be at particularly high-risk because they lack awareness of the need to avoid animals or to report an animal bite.

  • Those living or staying for extended periods (>1 month).

For further information (including post-exposure advice) seeĀ Rabies.