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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

A: Rabies Vaccination

Hi Jake and Co.

Thanks for this important question regarding vaccinations and in particular the rabies vaccine.

These are the recommendations from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC):

“Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Bhutan, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:

  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites.
  • People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers).
  • People who are taking long trips or moving to Bhutan
  • Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.”

While you won’t be working directly with animals you will be outdoors and there are a lot of stray dogs in Bhutan (being a Buddhist country they do not have any animal control programs). The dogs can be very aggressive, especially after dark. Your instructors will explicitly brief the student group on dog bite risks and ways to avoid any contact with dogs, but there still is a risk of encountering off-leash dogs (in fact, all dogs are off-leash in Bhutan really).

If you’d like to chat more about this just email me directly and we can schedule a phone call.

Kind regards,

Jessica Armstrong.

South Asia Program Director.

[email protected]