What Countries are Rabies Free?
Countries that tout themselves as rabies-free have entirely eliminated the disease from both domestic and wild animals. These countries do not have any rabies cases, and the disease is considered eradicated from these areas. Several countries are considered rabies-free, including American Samoa, Aruba, Antigua, Barbados, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Fiji, England, Tahiti, Guam, Ireland, Hawaii, Jamaica, Ireland, Malta, Japan, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Saint Lucia, Sweden, Singapore, St. Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the UK, and Vatican City.
It is essential to fully understand the ordinances and classifications of the country you are traveling to. For example, the European Union does not consider any country completely rabies-free but rather rabies-controlled. Entrance with a companion animal may be more stringent for the EU if you are leaving from a rabies-free country because of this controlled classification. Additional testing, quarantine, or vaccination may be required to enter EU countries.
What Countries are Rabies Controlled?
Some countries are classified as rabies-controlled. These countries will still have the rabies disease existing in the wild but, in general, have a very low incidence of infection. In combination with a low incidence, these countries have also put forward hefty mitigation factors to stop the spread of rabies. Some countries will rely heavily on continued vaccination to reduce and, hopefully, one day eliminate rabies in the country. Vaccination is a particularly useful practice with domesticated companion animals.
Countries that are considered rabies-controlled with heavy mitigation efforts and low occurrence of infection include Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Belarus, Chile, Canada, Hong Kong, Grenada, Kuwait, Hungary, Qatar, Latvia, Taiwan, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Usually, proof of vaccination for your companion animal is required to enter these countries.
What Countries are at High Risk for Rabies?
It is important to understand the risk of traveling to countries with a high risk of contracting the disease. High-risk countries have a high occurrence of rabies in either domesticated or wild animals. It is important to properly quarantine your pet if you are traveling from these countries to a part of the world with better control of the spread of rabies. The vast majority of countries fall into this category and are considered extremely high risk for rabies. Countries vary drastically between what is deemed to be rabies-free and rabies-controlled. Risk categories are usually dependent on the individual country, and different countries will require other quarantine protocols for companion animals. Before traveling to a new country with your pet, always be sure to thoroughly research the proper quarantine, vaccination, and health assurance standards.