Imported Rabies Cases and Preparedness for Rabies in Japan
Kinjiro Morimoto* and Masayuki Saijo**
*Faculty of Pharmacy, Yasuda Women’s University, 6-13-1 Yasuhigashi, Asaminami-ku, Hiroshima 731-0153, Japan
**Department of Virology 1, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, 1-23-1 Toyama, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan
Rabies has been causing some 55,000 annual deaths worldwide, mostly in the developing countries in Asia and Africa. At present, safe and effective post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) has been established and applied to more than 10 million persons each year. Nevertheless, fatal infection of human rabies imported or from wild animals has not been eradicated even in developed countries. In Japan, two imported cases occurred in 2006, the first such cases in 36 years. It is necessary to inform the public about rabies, in particular for overseas tourists, to establish the prompt and appropriate PEP systems, and to improve vaccine supply systems in order to prevent the recurrence of rabies cases in Japan.
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