The activity, spearheaded by CEGA'S in-house medical staff, will give assistance call handlers the latest information and advice about rabies. This will cover a range of areas; from rabies transmission and hotspots, to symptoms, prevention and protocol for customers at risk.
CEGA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Lynn Gordon says, “This initiative is just part of our commitment to constantly reinforce the skills and knowledge of our front-end assistance teams so that customers receive the very best, informed, service from the moment their call is answered.
“Although relatively rare amongst travellers, rabies is more likely to be fatal than any other disease. But it can be prevented, even after exposure to the virus, and it is vital for travel insurance policyholders who have been bitten or scratched by a potentially infected animal to call their assistance helpline immediately. They can then receive the right specialist advice and get access to suitable treatment as quickly as possible.
"We follow a strict protocol when any animal bite or scratch is reported by a customer. The customer is referred immediately to one of our in-house doctors for individual assessment and, if necessary, we will arrange transport to a medical centre that can provide the appropriate vaccination or antidote.”
World Rabies Day, organised by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, is the first and only global day of action and awareness for rabies prevention. Rabies, which currently kills an estimated 59,000 people every year, can be found all over the world, particularly in Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
Although 99% of human cases are transmitted by dogs, bats are now the major source of human rabies deaths in the Americas and bat rabies is an emerging public health threat in Australia and Western Europe.