On 17 July 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a Medical Product Alert about the circulation of falsified rabies vaccines and rabies immunoglobulin in the Philippines. Three different falsified rabies vaccines (Verorab, Speeda, and Rabipur) and 1 falsified rabies immunoglobulin product (Equirab) have been identified in the country. There is no evidence that these counterfeit rabies products have been distributed outside of the Philippines.
This is the second alert in 2019 regarding falsified rabies vaccines in the Philippines. In January 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a Medical Product Alert confirming the identification of a falsified ‘Verorab’ rabies vaccine being used in Philippines.
Healthcare professionals with concerns about a patient who may have received a falsified rabies vaccine in the Philippines, can call the Public Health England Rabies and Immunoglobulin Service (RIgS) for further advice.
Rabies is an encephalitis caused by rabies virus, a member of the rhabdovirus family. It is an acute viral infection that is almost invariably fatal once symptoms develop.
Transmission is generally through the bite of an infected animal, usually dogs, but also cats, bats and other wildlife. A course of rabies vaccination can prevent infection and death.
It is important that a medical practitioner assesses all animal bites, especially:
bat bites in the UK
any other animal bites overseas
Diagnosis of rabies in the early stages is often difficult as symptoms may be non-specific.