Rabies Treatment in Romania
The number of ‘excitable’ or stray cats and dogs in Bucharest can be a cause for concern. Some reports state that up to 55 people a day are bitten by dogs in Bucharest and, while some bites may be so small as to barely draw blood, it is worth considering the risk of rabies infection. Stray dogs, wild animals (not uncommon in the forests near Bucharest) and even domesticated cats that wander into the woods can carry the disease.
The rabies virus is passed on through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, but it can be easily treated with a simple course of anti-rabies vaccine. Fortunately Romania is well equipped to help anyone who is in need of treatment. While private clinics and hospitals often don’t provide the vaccine, almost every state hospital’s Accident & Emergency department does.
If you suffer a bite or scratch that breaks the skin but doesn’t call for urgent medical treatment, your best option for treatment in Bucharest is the Matei Bals National Institute of Infectious Diseases (Strada Dr. Calistrat Grozovici 1). There is parking along the road and in the surrounding area.
You should be aware that the hospital site itself is quite large, and signage is minimal. You need to find the Camera de Garda. This has recently been moved to a brand new building, and signage is not always particularly useful!
The new Camera de Garda is sited behind Pavilion IV in this large mustard-coloured building. From the main gate you will know you are nearby when you see a building with a giraffe-style design on its lower wall.
On your first visit you should register at the reception desk by the door. You’ll need to take ID (a passport is preferable) and evidence of medical insurance – either an EHIC card or proof of private cover – even though the rabies treatment itself is free of charge. You will also be required to give includes your address, the date and time of the bite, and the precise location. You may need to do this at the specific Birou Inregistrati Centrul Antirabic which is round the corner from reception. The earlier you begin the anti-rabies vaccine the better.
After registering your details you’ll need return to the waiting room and wait to see a triage doctor who will assess the situation and prescribe the vaccine and a tetanus shot if required. You may also be given antibiotics to ensure the wound doesn’t get infected. In our experience all the doctors speak good English, while many of the nurses do as well. Once you’ve got the prescription you then return to the antirabic office to receive it from the duty nurse.
The vaccine itself is a 5-shot course that is repeated at lengthening intervals: Day 0, Day 3, Day 7, Day 14 and Day 28. For your boosters you just need to return to the antirabic office on the specified day (treatment is available from 7am until 10pm). There’s no need for an appointment, nor any more paperwork to complete.