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Got scratched by street dog. Can this cause rabies?

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General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2008
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Hi, On 25th XXXXXXX my 9 yr old son got scratched by a street dog. No bite, but scratched by nail/paw. Can this cause rabies? Though initially I did not take him to a doctor, later on 29th XXXXXXX I took him to doctor who administred Rabipur. Doctor also advised that 4 more shots of the same need to be given over a period of one month. My question is, can the scratch cause rabies? The scratch though caused by paw, did draw blood. My second question is will the treatment help? My third question is, should I observe the dog ? If yes, then for how long ?
Posted Fri, 22 Feb 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 1 hour later

Thank you for the query.

Rabies virus is present mostly in the saliva and nervous cells. So it is rather hardly possible to get infected through the scratch. It is only possible if the wound has direct contact with the saliva. Rabipur is not a treatment for rabies (this diseases is untreatable). This is only a vaccination which causes resistance for the virus. The idea is to do not let allow the virus to spread through the human body.
No need to observe the dog as it wont change anything. He is getting vaccination what should protect him from virus spread so now it does not matter if the dog was infected or not.
So in conclusion, scratch should not cause virus infection, vaccination will give resistance so you should not worry at all.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Got scratched by street dog. Can this cause rabies? 2 days later
After the 2nd vaccination (day7), my son had developed fever and itching over body and cough. Could these by side effects of rabipur or any other symptom ?
Sorry. The 2nd vaccination is of day 4.
Answered by Dr. Grzegorz Stanko 2 hours later

As Rabipur contains inactivated virus of rabies it can cause such reaction. This happens because of immune system activation and can give allergic symptoms like skin rash or itching. So if your son does not have any fever, weakness, headaches, he is only having side effects from vaccination.

Hope this will help. Feel free to ask further questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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