Hi Laura. I thought I would reply to try to give you some accurate information since the above is not very.(to get the true information on rabies go to the WHO site- you should do this to check that what I say is correct.)
-Rabies is not common -but so are many of the other diseases like yellow fever.
-Rabies is 100% fatal. The exact figures are argued but only about 5 people in history may have had a partial or complete recovery.
-Rabies kills about 50,000 people per year about 30000 of which are in South East Asia (mainly India ,Thailand , Vietnam)(approximate numbers)Most of the rest are in Africa.
-WHO recommends Vaccination if spending time working with animals or extended time in a rural area or area where access to vaccination is difficult.
- There is currently a worldwide shortage of vaccine - good luck trying to find some in Ghana.
- The problem with vaccination after a bite is a. obtaining vaccine that is not spoiled- Rabies vaccine should be kept within the cold chain ie refrigerated within very accurate temperatures and never outside.b time is of the essence ie best within a day.c most importantly- there must an injection of Rabies immunoglobin into the bite site as well. This is very hard or impossible to obtain. ( I am an an Australian Doctor in East Timor working for Australian Army and we find it very difficult to get even from Australia!)
- A PRE exposure vaccination is a series of 3 injections- if there is a bite after this no immunoglobin is needed- just 3 injections.
I have backpacked in Ghana- and 35 other African countries- there are not many fridges or rabies vaccine or immunoglobin there.
I have also been in the situation of having to urgently obtain rabies vaccine in the Amazonian jungle for a patient bitten by a bat.This was extremely difficult in Brazil where the public health system is about 1000 times better than Ghana.
- Rabies pre exposure vaccination means that there is no need to hurry for post exposure needles,means that no immunoglobin is necessary(we gave a patient here 10mls of immunoglobin in his lip!- I would pay $6000 to avoid the pain he experienced.)-No patient has even got rabies after correct pre and post immunization.
- I think that rabies vaccines can be obtained for about $300 in some places.
Sorry to go on but you must make a decision based on facts not rumours.
Have agreat trip- I should be in Ghana late April next year-it is fantastic especially the cape coast and castles.