Topic Overview

Due to successful animal vaccination programs, human
rabies is not common in North America. But rabies can
occur in all areas of the United States except Hawaii.

Rabies is a much bigger problem in other parts of the world than it is in
North America. It’s worse in developing countries where humans most often get it through dog bites.footnote 1 Areas where
rabies is most common include Africa, Asia, India, Indonesia, and Central
and South America. Travelers who will be spending time in rural parts of these
areas are encouraged to get vaccinated against rabies.

occurs in most regions of the world, except Antarctica and some island nations,
such as Japan and New Zealand. Some areas of Europe are also rabies-free. They include Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and most of Scandinavia.footnote 1

Related Information



  1. Plotkin SA, et al. (2009). Rhabdoviridae: Rabies virus. In RD Feigin et al., eds., Feigin and Cherry’s Textbook of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases, 6th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2494-2511. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofMarch 3, 2017