vaccination for travellers

The Rabies Vaccine

What is rabies?

Rabies is a viral infection of animals that can be transmitted to humans. It is caused by a virus of the Rhabdoviridae family, which attacks the central nervous system and eventually affects the brain. The virus is usually found in the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is almost always fatal once symptoms occur. Rabies can occur in any warm-blooded animal, domestic and wild- commonly, dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons, skunks, wolves and bats. Animals having potential interactions with people such as cattle and horses can acquire rabies and may transmit the disease to humans.

Rabies is a viral infection that affects the brain and is spread by direct contact with an infected animal. It is a fatal disease found on all continents, except Antarctica. Pre-exposure immunization of rabies vaccine, Imovax includes 3 doses. All the rabies vaccines are available at our rabies vaccine clinics in Toronto, Onatrio.

The Rabies Vaccine for travel – Imovax is available at the travel vaccine clinic.   To book your appointment for rabies vaccine  at the Travel Vaccine Clinic in Toronto, North York, or any other GTA location, call  416 461 2419 or click  www.travelvaccineclinic.fullslate.com

Rabies is a deadly illness caused by a Lyssavirus that spreads to humans through close contact with the saliva of an infected animal, most often from licks, bites or scratches.

What is my risk?

Your risk depends on several factors: your destination, the length of your trip, where you stay, your activities and your access to medical care.

Your risk is much higher if you participate in activities that put you in close contact with animals, such as cave exploration, hunting, camping, hiking, or cycling.

Travellers who will be working in close contact with animals (for example, veterinarians, animal control or wildlife workers or laboratory workers) are at higher risk. Our vaccine clinics in Toronto have rabies vaccines for travel available every time.

Children are also considered at higher risk because they often play with animals, are less likely to report bites or scratches and are more likely to be bitten in the head and neck area. In many areas of the world, rabies is most common in children under the age of 15.

How is it transmitted?

  • Rabies can be carried in any warm-blooded animal (domestic or wild).
  • Rabies is spread from an infected animal when the virus from its saliva enters the victim’s nervous system through a bite, scratch, or lick on open skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose and mouth).

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms generally take one to three months to appear, but this may vary considerably from several days to several years.
  • Early symptoms are flu-like, including headache, feeling generally unwell, fever, and fatigue. There may be discomfort or pain including tingling or numbness at the exposure site (i.e. bite).
  • Once symptoms appear, the disease progresses quickly as the central nervous system is attacked. The illness generally presents in one of two ways:
    • “Furious rabies” is more common, and is characterized by anxiety, confusion, hyperactivity, hallucinations, fear of water (hydrophobia) and seizures.
    • “Dumb rabies” occurs in approximately 30 of patients and presents with weakness and paralysis
  • Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal. In both “furious” and “dumb” rabies, death usually occurs within seven to fourteen days due to breathing failure caused by paralysis of the respiratory system.

Can rabies be treated?

If you have been exposed to the virus (bitten or scratched), shots (called post-exposure prophylaxis) can be effective at preventing the disease, as long as they are received as soon as possible.

Post-exposure prophylaxis is available worldwide, but it is often difficult to obtain.

There is no specific treatment for rabies once symptoms appear.

Where is rabies a concern?

  • Rabies occurs worldwide except in Antarctica.
  • Most human deaths occur in Asia and Africa and the disease is mainly transmitted by dogs.
  • There is a high risk of rabies in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
  • Bat rabies has recently re-emerged and is a concern in Australia and Western Europe. Bats are the source of most human rabies cases in North America.

A map of the areas where rabies transmission occurs is available from the World Health Organization (WHO).


Consult the travel health care professionals at the Travel Vaccine Clinic. Call 416-461-2419  or click:  www.travelvaccineclinic.fullslate.com

  1. Get vaccinated.

  • Book your appointment with our Travel vaccine Clinic health proffessiona lTravellers should consult with a health care provider to discuss their travel plans and activities.
    • The rabies pre-exposure vaccine should be offered to people at potentially high risk of contact with animals.
    • Rabies vaccines for international travel Vaccination should also be offered to travellers going to areas where rabies is widespread and there is poor access to medical care.
    • Vaccination should be offered to children who are too young to understand either the need to avoid animals or to report contact with animals.
  1. Take personal precautions to avoid contact with all animals, wild or domestic.

  • Travellers should not:
    • attempt to pick up, pet, feed or handle unfamiliar animals.
    • attract or approach wild or stray animals.
    • handle bats, including if inside caves, or spelunking.
  • Always closely supervise children around animals, especially dogs, cats and wildlife such as monkeys.
  1. If bitten, scratched or licked on broken skin or mucous membranes, by an animal:

  • Immediately clean the wound thoroughly by washing and flushing with soap and water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Immediately seek medical assistance to assess your risk and discuss treatment options.
  • When you return to Canada, see your health care provider and tell them about your exposure and any shots you may have received.

Rabies vaccines for humans are available at our rabies clinics in Ontario

Source: © All rights reserved. Rabies. Public Health Agency of Canada, modified in 2016, with permission from the Minister of Health, 2017.

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"I saw your dr. last weekend and it was a great experience. I felt that he made sure I am traveling with the most recommended vaccines and nothing i do not need. Don't be fooled by his young age appearance, he knows his stuff!!! Efel was the person at the front desk, very sweet and friendly. Prices are OK especially for the level of professionalism they showed."

Jacqueline P.

"My husband and I received our vaccinations with the help of nurse Mary who was knowledgeable, patient, and provided excellent customer service. I would gladly go back for any future travel needs."

Tammy N.

"We felt prepared to go on our trip after our appointment. We got all the necessary vaccines and all of our questions were answered."

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"I made an appointment online for the next day. I had close to 1/2 hour wait to see someone but I was given great service, not rushed and felt taken care of. I would recommend and use them again."


"So effiecient and friendly - The team at Travel Vaccine Clinic made my visit there easy, stress free from the consultation on what I need for my travel until the vaccines and prescription needed/advised were given. I will be back. Thank you!"

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"Service was very fast and well done. We received our vaccines on the spot and our practitioner was very helpful while answering questions."


"Professional, thoroughly knowledgeable, and they ensure that you understand all of your options. I will definitely use them again and highly recommend."

Leslee H.

"Your staff was incredibly helpful and extremely knowledgeable. He helped us look up related diseases for our trip and provided us with necessary information for potential risks. Staff was very helpful as well. We have been here quite a few times and have never been disappointed. Highly recommended!"

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"Really friendly staff, efficient, and great price for consultation."

Cydney B.

"I am so very afraid of needles and my nurse took care of me so well. The lightest to touch injections I have ever had. Service was quick and easy. Thank-you!!"


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Jennifer D.

"We received very clear and practical advice and were in and out. We'll be back."

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"Staff were very helpful and informative and attentive. Great service, thank you!"

Amy L.

"Excellent service. Got all my vaccinations and prescriptions . They don't charge to fill up the prescriptions. Best prices I could find. I highly recommend this travel clinic."

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