I will be travelling to Bali and probably surrounding islands such as Lombok, Gili and Java. I won't be going much off the beaten track, however I haven't planned a lot so that I can remain quite flexible. My main concern is that if I don't have the jab I would need an immunogloblin shot which apparently is not that easy to get hold of in Bali. Is this correct from most people's experience? The first tour I am doing out in Australia has also just been cancelled which means I have to leave earlier and would then have to have my last jab for rabies on the morning before I fly out - thinking this might not be too comfortable so wondering if I should reconsider and not have the jab at all?
Hilary, if you are planning on spending a lot of time in rural areas AND handling animals or doing farm work then yes get the shot. But if you're just doing normal travelling (which it sounds like you are) then it's less imperative. The "preventative" shot is actually the first of the 4 you'd need if you were exposed - it's recommended you get that first shot within 48 hours, so already having it buys you some time.
The immunogloblin has a shelf life of about a week or two, which is why supplies often run short (supply can't keep up with demand).
Sad, but somewhat reassuring fact, of all the deaths from rabies on Bali in the past few years NONE have been tourists. That's because tourists have the money and support to get somewhere where there is a supply... many locals simply cannot afford that.
This is a situation where having travel insurance pays off. If you are bitten and think you may have been exposed, call your emergency assistance number right away. The team will be able to determine where the nearest source of immunogloblin is located, and if that happens to be Singapore or Darwin they'll arrange emergency flights to get you there (or it to you). That'll not only save you money, it could save your life (untreated rabies is 100% fatal).
There's a bit more information on the WorldNomads.com safety hub here:
Phil almost 5 years ago
If you're staying on the beaten track, then I don't think the doctors would recommend rabies shots. We never have. But don't tease the monkeys in Ubud coz they are fearless but not toothless. As a youngster, our son got a nip on the fingers through withholding food. He was fine, but what a freak out! Definitely have your Hep A & B shots but don't leave until the last minute as there are 2 shots in the course, 2 weeks apart, if I recall. Lombok is brilliant, but there's coral, so make sure your tetanus is current. Apparently salt water is not sterile. I have read that Malaria is present in Lombok, but we've never taken precautions. almost 5 years ago