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Rabies

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Rabies is a disease of the nervous system caused by the rabies virus. Rabies infects domestic and wild mammals, and is spread to people through close contact with infected saliva (usually from bites or scratches, but potentially from licks to the eyes or mouth). Rabies in humans is almost always fatal once symptoms develop. The World Health Organization estimates that about 60 000 people die from rabies each year.

Rabies virus is not found in animals in Australia or New Zealand, but there is the potential for the virus to be introduced into Australia from neighbouring countries through the illegal importation of unvaccinated animals. A close relative of the classical rabies virus, Australian bat lyssavirus, can be found in bats in Australia.

Public health management guidelines

Notification

Pathology laboratories

Notification resources

Enhanced surveillance for public health units

  • Case report form (potential exposures) (PDF, 338kB) - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance. 

Resources for health professionals

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Communicable diseases contacts

Ph: +61 7 3328 9724 / 9728
Fax: +61 7 3328 9782
Email: communicable diseases team
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Last updated: 11/11/2015 4:08:39 PM