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Rabies in a Traveller arriving in Japan from the Philippines

28 May 2020

According to mediaquoting the city government of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, a traveller from the Philipines has been diagnosed with rabies. The patient was bitten by a dog in the Philippines in September 2019 and arrived in Japan in February 2020 before showing symptoms of rabies on 11 May 2020. Analysis of the virus showed a strong similariy to known rabies viruses found in the Philippines. The patient remains seriously ill in hospital.

Advice for Travellers

Any animal contact in an areas where rabies is present poses a potential risk of infection through bites or scratches.

  • 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.

  • An effective rabies vaccination is available.

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

For further information including vaccination and post-exposure advice, see Rabies.