ITM has developed an application that quickly calculates whether a traveller is eligible for preventive rabies vaccination. The application uses a points system. With a score of three or more preventive vaccination is indicated, with a lower score in general no vaccination is administered.
Research shows that travellers are much more likely to suffer a bite requiring post-exposure treatment than to be infected with hepatitis A or typhoid fever. Nevertheless, travellers who will possibly run a risk are not always vaccinated against rabies.
Based on data from recent studies, the system weighs different risk factors for each individual. The age of the traveller, the duration of the trip, possible future trips and risky activities, such as jogging, cycling or visiting a monkey park, are taken into account.
The application also looks at the distance to an available vaccine. Preventive vaccination before the trip is important if it is clear that a traveller will not be able to get the necessary vaccinations and antibodies quickly (within 48 hours) after a risk has been run, as in the case of a dog bite. This is the case during a very remote stay or a long trek in the mountains, where medical help is not available within one or a few days.
To further improve the system, some feedback questions are asked. Applying the score to identify high-risk travellers should lead to them being vaccinated more often and thus leaving on journeys with better protection.
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