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Rabies (Human) in Sri Lanka

26 Sep 2012

The Health Ministry of Sri Lanka is urging the public to help reduce animal rabies in the country by having their pets vaccinated. The dog population has been reduced by more than 50% as a result of the sterilisation programme run by the Government. However, it is felt that there is undereporting of rabies in dogs by owners and the true extent of the problem is unknown.

In the first 9 months of 2012, 28 human deaths from rabies were recorded. The worst affected arease were: Jaffna, Kegalle, Hambantota and Matara. In the first 9 months of 2010, 59 human deaths from rabies were recorded with 31 in the same time period of 2011.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers to Sri Lanka should be made aware of the rabies risk and be advised to avoid all contact with animals and dogs in particular. All animal bites should be reported and assessed carefully. Rabies pre-exposure vaccine is available for those considered to be at risk.