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Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 1435 Questions
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Hello I have this terrible fear in rabies and I had a cut on my hand and touched a garbage bag that a animal was in I went to the ER and my doctor they told me don't believe anything I read online about medical stuff my doctor trained at XXXXXXX hospital and said anyone that has encountered rabies was sick in a week but I keep reading stuff online that makes me scared and I think now I can get it in a year she also said no one will give me the shots and the ER doc said he can't even consider that for me who should I listen to
Posted Mon, 4 Nov 2013 in Infections
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 36 minutes later
Brief Answer:
The chances are minimal after some time

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Thanks for posting your query on XXXXXXX

Rabies is transmitted after a bite from an animal and the wound is deep and bleeding which exposes the nerves. The virus travels through nerves and ascends to the nervous system. That's when the person gets rabies. Just coming near an animal does not suffice the criteria unless the animal was a bat.

If rabies has been contracted, then death usually happens within days. I don't know when you were exposed to the animal. Regarding your fear of contracting rabies later, I have not seen a single case till now. There are very less chances of getting rabies after 1 year of bite etc.

The doctors prescribe vaccination even if there is slightest chance of getting rabies. I agree with your doctor. You may listen to him.

You can ask the animal control department for more information about the kind of wild animals inhabiting your area.

Regards

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 21 minutes later
It was 12 days ago I was not bit but had a open cut at the time she said all her cases with rabies was with in a week the person got sick I touched a garbage bag that a animal got into with a cut on my hand the ER doctor said he can't even consider giving me a shot for it my cut healed already
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
No chance of infection

Detailed Answer:
Hi again

The chances of being infected are practically none. The chances of getting infection by touching the same bag in which the animal was hiding are negligible.

Transmission usually happens when virus transfers from infected saliva onto open wound, which is not the case here.

Thus you can be completely re-assured.

Regards

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 1 hour later
My doctor said I would know by now it's been 12 days .Should I believe them?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 18 hours later
Brief Answer:
Hi again

Detailed Answer:
Hi

From your description I think we can safely believe your doctor. The circumstances were not ideal for the transmission of rabies virus from the animal (if it was infected) to you.

Take care.

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 27 minutes later
So you would trust the doctors more then the internet
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 13 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I use my own judgment

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Before I posted my answer, I judged your clinical picture. Thus the answer was specifically meant for your case scenario after considering all the aspects.

Maybe you can send me the link of the website that you have been reading and I will tell you my opinion on it.

If you are worried about exposure to rabies in future, you can get the pre-exposure vaccination for the purpose. This may also provide some sense of security for the past exposure. But if you trust me you do not need it.

Since there are no specific and non-invasive tests available to test for rabies in humans, the judgement is mostly based on clinical scenario. The animal (that you came in contact with) can be tested to rule out rabies infection in it. Mostly it is also not possible as the animal is not available for the purpose.

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 2 minutes later
My doctor and the ER said that rabbies takes affect right away they said I would be sick by now. Believe them or not?
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 28 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Believe the doctor

Detailed Answer:
Yes we can believe the doctor

Thanks

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 4 minutes later
They said the internet that says it can take months my doctor and the ER said no you would be sick right away that is true right
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 20 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Sometimes symptoms may take a long time to develop

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Symptoms, in most cases, develop within hours. Sometimes the symptoms can take longer time, even months to develop.

Second thing that is re-assuring is that the animal was not a bat (though you did not confirm it). Since the bat bites are very small to be noticed. We mostly find skunks and mice in the garbage bags.

Third thing that is re-assuring is that there was no direct contact between you and the animal.

Regards

Dr Vaishalee

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Had a cut in hand and touched a garbage bag containing animal. Should I be scared of rabies? 17 minutes later
Thank you for everything I'm gonna trust my doctors and you and the ER more then the internet, they told me the shots are not needed
 
 
Answered by Dr. Vaishalee Punj 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Hi

Detailed Answer:
I am pretty much sure that you were not affected by the exposure.

Good luck

Dr Vaishalee
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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