What Is Rabies?
- Flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, and fatigue
- Pain, tingling, or itching at the site of the bite wound or other site of viral entry
- An increase in saliva
- Painful spasms and contractions of the throat when swallowing
- Erratic, excited, or bizarre behavior
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
- Preventive vaccination
- Vaccination after exposure
- Veterinarians and animal handlers
- Rabies laboratory workers
- People who explore caves
- Travelers who may come in contact with rabid animals
Vaccination After Exposure
What Are the Risks Associated With the Rabies Vaccine?
- Soreness, redness, swelling, or itching around the injection site
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
- Pain in the joints
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
- Had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of rabies vaccine or one of its parts
- Have a weakened immune system from a disease, drug use, or cancer
- Are ill—Wait until you recover to get the preventive vaccine. If you have been exposed to rabies, you should get the vaccine right away.
What Other Ways Can Rabies Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?
- Vaccinate house pets.
- Avoid contact with wild animals.
- Do not touch any wild animal, even if it appears to be dead.
- Seal basement, porch, and attic openings. This will prevent an animal from getting into your home.
- Report animals that act strangely or look sick to animal control authorities.
- Strange behavior (often overly aggressive or vicious)
- Disorientation (such as nocturnal animals such as a bat or fox appearing in the daylight)
What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Global Alliance for Rabies Control http://www.rabiescontrol.net
Vaccine and Immunizations Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines
World Health Organization http://www.who.int/en
Malerczyk C, Detora L, et al. Imported human rabies cases in Europe, the United States, and Japan, 1990 to 2010. J Travel Med. 2011;18(6):402-407.
McGettigan JP. Experimental rabies vaccines for humans. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2010;9(10):1177-1186.
Rabies. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated February 9, 2012. Accessed November 28, 2012.
Rabies. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/. Updated September 19, 2012. Accessed November 28, 2012.
Rabies vaccine: what you need to know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/rabies.html. Updated October 6, 2009. Accessed November 28, 2012.
3/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Use of a reduced (4-dose) vaccine schedule for postexposure prophylaxis to prevent human rabies. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010;59(2):1.
- Reviewer: David L Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -
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