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Rabies Exposure Risk among Foreign Backpackers in Southeast Asia

By Watcharapong Piyaphanee, Prapimporn Shantavasinkul, Weerapong Phumratanaprapin, Piyada Udomchaisakul, Pongdej Wichianprasat, Maneerat Benjavongkulchai, Thitiya Ponam and Terapong Tantawichian


Rabies remains a problem in Southeast Asia where large numbers of backpackers visit each year. During May–June 2008, a survey study was conducted of foreign backpackers in Bangkok, Thailand to assess their risk of rabies exposure. Eight hundred seventy (870) questionnaires were collected and analyzed. The median age of the backpackers was 25.5 years. Most of them were European (68.4%), followed by North American (13.2%). Although 80.7% had sought health information before traveling, only 55.6% had received information about rabies. Only 18.1% had completed pre-exposure rabies vaccination (3 shots) before travel, whereas 70.9% had not been vaccinated for rabies at all. In this study, the incidence of being licked was 3.56%, and of being bitten 0.69%, on average stays of 30.06 days in Southeast Asia. More than a half (54%) of exposures occurred in the first 10 days after arrival in Southeast Asia

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Publisher: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
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