Postexposure Treatment for Rabies
What is rabies?
Rabies is a disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted by coming into contact with the saliva of an infected animal.1
How is it contracted?
Rabies can be contracted if you are bitten, scratched, or come into contact with infected saliva from a wild animal, especially raccoons (which are the most common carriers of rabies). Skunks, bats, and foxes, as well as some domestic animals, such as dogs, can also transmit the disease.2,3
What are the symptoms?
Those suffering from rabies will experience symptoms that resemble the flu, such as fatigue, headaches, fever, and general feeling of illness. These symptoms will usually be followed by more serious symptoms such as overproduction of saliva, confusion, hallucinations, and slight or partial paralysis. Rabies, once contracted, is almost always fatal.4,5
How can I prevent rabies?
As soon as the incident with the animal has taken place, go directly to the hospital, and if possible, every effort should be made to capture the animal without risking another bite. If you are unable to capture the animal, proceed directly to the hospital.6
What is a rabies immune globulin and why isn't a vaccine enough?
A rabies immune globulin is a treatment that contains high levels of rabies antibodies. An immune globulin works much faster than a vaccine, but does not last as long. Because of the potentially life-threatening nature of rabies, doctors will give you a rabies immune globulin shot like HyperRAB and a vaccine to make sure you get the comprehensive care you need.6,7