Don’t Put Off The Rabies Vaccine For Humans
Rabies is a very scary virus. Not only is it incredibly deadly, but the symptoms are severe and it can easily be transmitted by any animal. For all of these reasons, it’s important to make sure that you are safe.
The best way to protect yourself is the rabies vaccine for humans. Whether you want to get it as a preventative measure or to combat potential exposure, its efficacy will give you peace of mind. So don’t put it off, get it as soon as possible!
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Will I Have To Pay For The Rabies Vaccine
You’ll usually have to pay for the rabies vaccine if you need it for protection while travelling.
The vaccine course involves 3 doses. Each dose usually costs around £40 to £60, with a full course typically costing around £120 to £180.
If you need the vaccine because there’s a risk you could be exposed to rabies through your job, your employer should be able to provide it for you free of charge. Ask your employer or occupational health provider about this.
If you regularly handle bats in a voluntary role, you should speak to a GP to see if you are eligible for a free vaccine.
If So Few People Get Rabies Why Do I Have To Vaccinate My Pets
Every year in Washington, hundreds of people must undergo the series of shots to prevent rabies, called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, because they are potentially exposed to the virus. If we control rabies in domestic animals, we can reduce the number of potential human rabies cases. Pets are more likely to contact wild animals, such as bats, that may have rabies. Vaccinating pets is one of the best ways to protect people and pets. By reducing the risk, fewer people will need costly, and stressful, rabies treatment shots.
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How Do You Catch Rabies
Rabies is contracted by exposure to the saliva of an infected animal. Any mammal can get rabies, but the most commonly infected animals in the United States are raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Rabies can be transmitted if a bite from an infected animal penetrates the skin. Rabies can also be transmitted if an infected animal licks an open wound, cut or scratch, or if the animal licks the mouth, nose or eyes. Simply petting a rabid animal will not transmit rabies.
If you or a family member is bitten by a rabid animal, you should thoroughly clean the wound and then call the local health department or a local infectious disease expert to determine which animals in the region are likely to transmit rabies. But generally, in the United States, the following guidelines can serve as a good rule of thumb:
Rabies vaccine is not needed:
- If the animal lives in or has been hanging around the neighborhood, it can be observed for 10 days to see if it behaves normally.
- If, after 10 days, the animal does not show any signs of rabies, then no treatment is needed.
- Also, animals immunized with the rabies vaccine are unlikely to transmit rabies all the more reason to make sure that your animals are immunized with rabies vaccine.
Mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, birds and chipmunks generally do not carry rabies. There has been no record of reptiles, amphibians or fish ever becoming infected with or transmitting rabies.
Rabies vaccine is needed:
Rabies Vaccination Prevention And Protection
Rabies is a viral illness that affects the nervous system and brain. It is almost always fatal once symptoms arise, but it is preventable. It kills approximately 59,000 people per year with over half of them being children younger than the age of 15.
It is caused by an infection with the rabies virus or other lyssavirus family viruses such as Australian bat lyssavirus. Rabies does not occur in animals in Australia however, some bats carry Australian bat lyssavirus , a closely related virus that can extremely rarely spread from bats to humans .
Although it is not natively found in Australia, there are several countries in which rabies is still common including India, Thailand, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Venezuela, South Africa, Somalia and many others.
For Australians, the greatest risk of rabies comes from being bitten, licked, or scratched by an infected animal while traveling to areas in which it is endemic. Exposure to rabid dogs accounts for 99% of rabies deaths worldwide.95% of cases occur in Africa and Asia.
The best prevention is to avoid contact with any mammal while travelling. This includes patting dogs and cats which many travellers unfortunately tend to do.
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Side Effects Of The Rabies Vaccine
After having the rabies vaccine, some people have temporary soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site for 24 to 48 hours.
In rare cases, some people also experience:
- a mild high temperature
- a headache
- a rash
The vaccines used in the UK contain an inactive form of the rabies virus, so you cannot catch rabies by being vaccinated.
Page last reviewed: 09 January 2020 Next review due: 09 January 2023
What Are The Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccines In Cats
Fortunately, reactions to vaccines are very uncommon in cats. In fact, side effects of rabies vaccines in cats are very rare. When they do happen, they include slight fever, lethargy, decreased appetite and a localized swelling at the vaccine site.
These rabies vaccine side effects usually disappear within a few days.
In extremely rare cases, cats may develop an allergic reaction to the vaccine, which includes hives, swelling of the face and itchiness.
Severe reaction can include weakness and collapse. Keep in mind that these reactions are extremely rare allergic reactions occur in fewer than 10 cats out of each 10,000 cats vaccinated.
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Why Should I Have My Animals Vaccinated
- Vaccinating pets prevents them from getting rabies and is one of the most effective ways in preventing rabies exposure in people.
- If your dog, cat, or ferret is not vaccinated, and is bitten by a stray or wild animal, the pet needs to be confined and observed for six months. This strict confinement of a pet could cost a significant amount of money and could harm the animal physiologically. If the pet develops signs of rabies while in confinement, it must be euthanized to be tested for rabies.
- The health risk, stress, and financial burden of a pet potentially being exposed to rabies are significantly less if the pet is vaccinated. Rabies vaccines for pets are an inexpensive way to protect people and other animals. It is worth spending a few dollars to vaccinate your pet instead of spending thousands of dollars on confinement and the potential tragedy of losing your pet.
How Can I Prevent Getting Rabies
- Immunize your cat, dog or ferret against rabies. Even indoor cats need to be immunized against rabies in case they escape or bats enter your house.
- Stay away from wild animals and animals you do not know.
- Stay away from bats even dead ones.
- Ask your doctor or local travel clinic about the rabies vaccine if youre travelling to developing countries, such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
- If you are a student at a Canadian Veterinary College or Animal Health Technology Training Centre you are eligible for a free rabies vaccine. Contact your doctor, pharmacist or Public Health for an appointment.
If you are employed in animal health or rabies research, the rabies vaccine is recommended but not publicly funded. Contact your employer about getting the vaccine.
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Serologic And Cerebrospinal Fluid Testing
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory is the Canadian rabies reference laboratory. NML conducts testing on serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples from all provinces and territories in Canada with the exception of Ontario, where serological testing is performed by the Public Health Ontario Laboratory .
Following vaccination, neutralizing antibodies begin to develop within seven days and persist for at least two years. For testing vaccine response, NML uses a modified Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralization assay, while PHOL uses a modification of the Rapid Fluorescent-Focus Inhibition Test . Both institutions consider the antibody titre of at least 0.5 IU/mL as an acceptable correlate of protection. Protective antibodies are present immediately after passive vaccination with RabIg and have a half-life of approximately 21 days.
Because of the excellent immune response to rabies vaccine, healthy people immunized with an appropriate regimen do not require routine antibody determinations after either pre-exposure or post-exposure rabies vaccination, unless one of the following applies:
People with ongoing high risk of exposure
- Continuous risk -serology should be checked every 6 months.
- Frequent risk – serology should be checked every 2 years.
Others who have less frequent risk of exposure to potentially rabid animals or whose risk is likely to be from a recognized source do not require periodic serologic testing.
What Are The Symptoms Of Rabies
The symptoms of rabies usually first appear 1 to 3 months after the bite, but they can appear anywhere from a few days to a few years after exposure. Symptoms include:
- loss of appetite
- fear of water, air and/or bright light
Once symptoms appear, there is no treatment for rabies. The illness progresses rapidly to paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death, usually within a week or 2.
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How Long Does A Rabies Vaccine Last
This is a legal question as well as a medical one. State law determines how long your dogs vaccination is considered protective, and the law varies from state to state.
There are rabies vaccines that are labeled as being effective for either one year or three years, though the actual contents of the vaccine may be the same. Labeling is a legal matter of testing and proof, and the difference between the two vaccines is the testing done by the manufacturer.
Some states require your pet to be vaccinated against rabies annually, no matter if the vaccine is considered to be effective for one year or three. Your veterinarian will know the legal requirements of your state and will help you to stay on schedule with your pets.
Make Sure Your Dog Gets The Correct Vaccine
If youre vaccinating a puppy, make sure your vet administers a one-year vaccine initially and a three-year vaccine thereafter.
The one-year and three-year vaccines are virtually identical medically but not under the law. A one-year shot must be followed by re-vaccination a year later.
Note: the one-year shot is not safer than the three-year .
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Video Answer: Rabies Vaccine & Tag
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Rather, standard guidelines recommend giving the pet a rabies vaccine and having the animal observed by their owner for a period of 45 days.
Developing better PEP protocols for unvaccinated animals is useful, but I’d prefer to see it become a moot point as a result of high vaccination rates.
How Is Rabies Treated
Even if rabies is not confirmed, treatment should start straight away. This is called post-exposure prophylaxis and is done to prevent any infection from developing.
First the wound will be cleaned and then you will be given an injection of immune globulin, which strengthens the immune system against the rabies virus.
A series of rabies vaccinations must then be given over time, usually over 2 weeks.
If you receive treatment abroad, ask for a post-exposure prophylaxis certificate listing what immunoglobulin was used, how much was used, the vaccine batch number, the route and dates it was given, and contact details of the clinic you attended. Show this information to your doctor as soon as you return to Australia.
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What You Need To Know About Rabies Vaccines For Cats
Rabies is a viral disease typically found in wild animalsmost commonly raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes. However, any mammal can become infected if they are exposed. That is why it is essential that we keep our pets protected with consistent rabies vaccines.
Both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk for contracting rabies. Heres what you need to know about the rabies vaccine for cats, including the schedule, side effects and cost.
How Do You Treat Someone Who Is Bitten By A Potentially Rabid Animal
Treatment of people bitten by an animal that might be rabid should include the following:
- Wash the wound carefully with soap and water.
- Administer rabies immune globulin ,* a preparation of serum obtained from people who have high levels of rabies-specific antibodies in their blood. RIG should be injected in and around the wound to prevent attachment of rabies virus to the nervous system.
- Begin the series of shots of rabies vaccine immediately.*
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Do Not Administer A Rabies Vaccine Yourself
It will not satisfy legal requirements and youll have to have a vet vaccinate again. You will also be unprepared to deal with a potentially life-threatening reaction. Similarly, a vets office may likely be a safer place to get the vaccine than a mobile clinic.
Before the next notice from Animal Control arrives, do your homework. A little time spent learning about the rabies vaccine can mean the difference between your dogs wellness and serious illness.
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Who Needs To Get The Rabies Vaccine
People at risk of rabies
The rabies vaccine is recommended for people at high risk of coming in contact with rabies. For example, you may need the rabies vaccine if you:
- Work as a veterinarian or animal handler
- Are a veterinary student
- Study the rabies virus
- Are traveling to other countries where rabies is common
The vaccine is given in 3 doses. The second dose is given 7 days after the first dose, followed by a third dose 21 or 28 days after the first.
Vaccination after an animal bite
If youre bitten by an animal that could have rabies, you can get the rabies vaccine to keep you from developing the disease. A doctor can help decide if you need the vaccine.
If you havent been vaccinated for rabies before, youll need 4 doses of the vaccine. Youll get the first dose right away, followed by additional doses:
- 3 days after the first dose
- 1 week after the first dose
- 2 weeks after the first dose
Youll also get a shot called Rabies Immune Globulin with the first dose to help your body fight the virus faster.
If youve already had the rabies vaccine, youll need 2 doses after an animal bite youll get the first dose right away, followed by a second dose 3 days after the first. You wont need the Rabies Immune Globulin shot.
If you think you or someone in your family needs the rabies vaccine, talk with a doctor.
Some people should not get the rabies vaccine or may need to wait to get it. Be sure to tell your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:
Human Rabies Immune Globulin
Human rabies immune globulin is administered only once, at the beginning of anti-rabies prophylaxis, to previously unvaccinated persons. This will provide immediate antibodies until the body can respond to the vaccine by actively producing antibodies of its own. If possible, the full dose of HRIG should be thoroughly infiltrated in the area around and into the wounds. Any remaining volume should be injected intramuscularly at a site distant from vaccine administration.
HRIG should never be administered in the same syringe or in the same anatomical site as the first vaccine dose. However, subsequent doses of vaccine in the four-dose series can be administered in the same anatomic location where the HRIG dose was administered.
If HRIG was not administered when vaccination was begun, it can be administered up to seven days after the administration of the first dose of vaccine. Beyond the seventh day, HRIG is not recommended since an antibody response to the vaccine is presumed to have occurred.
Because HRIG can partially suppress active production of antibody, no more than the recommended dose should be administered. The recommended dose of HRIG is 20 IU/kg body weight. This formula is applicable to all age groups, including children.
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Vaccine And Immunoglobulin Safety And Adverse Events
Refer to Adverse Events Following Immunization in Part 2 for additional general information.
Common and local adverse events
Local injection site reactions such as pain, erythema, swelling, pruritus and induration at the injection site were reported in 60% to close to 90% of recipients. Mild systemic reactions such as headache, nausea, abdominal pain, muscle aches and dizziness were reported in about 6% to 55% of recipients.
Local injection site reactions were reported in 11% to 57% of recipients, consisting of pain, tenderness, swelling, erythema and induration at the injection site lasting for 2 to 3 days. Systemic reactions are generally less common and may consist of malaise, myalgia, arthralgia, headache and fever. Lymphadenopathy, nausea and rash have been reported occasionally.
Local injection site pain, erythema and induration are commonly reported following administration of RabIg, as are systemic reactions such as headache and low-grade fever. The majority of reported events were mild.
Less common and serious or severe adverse events
Serious adverse events are rare following immunization and, in most cases, data are insufficient to determine a causal association.
Anaphylaxis following immunization with PCECV has been rarely reported. Temporally associated neurologic events have also been very rarely reported but causal association with vaccination has not been established.
Contraindications and precautions