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What is the window for anti rabies shot after a dog attack?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2300 Questions
While in cambodia I got scratched on the hand by a stray dog which bleed. This happened at 9 pm at night I could not get to a clinic until 1 pm the next day where the doctor injected me with verorab and said I didn't need immoglobin because the scrstch was small I had my second shot in cambodia and the on the fifth day I was in Thailand where I spoke with a doctor who stated because I never was vaccinated previously I needed immoglobulin so I had the injection on the fifth day, my concern now is did I miss the window to be treated for rabies am I at high risk now of contracting it because I wasn't given immoglobin on the first day
Posted Tue, 11 Feb 2014 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Prasad 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Don't be worried. You are protected... Detailed Answer: Hi, Rabies prophylaxis should be started after suspected bites at the earliest. I recommend my patients to get vaccinated / receive immunoglobin within a week after the bite. Though you weren't vaccinated earlier, immunoglobin that you received within a week's time is sufficient to provide protection against infection. Besides as you received vaccinations immediately antibody produced in the last 5 days will be able to counter rabies virus and keep you protected. So don't be worried. Continue the next shots of rabies vaccines as recommended. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need clarifications. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What is the window for anti rabies shot after a dog attack? 5 minutes later
The doctor in Thailand. Said when I had my first vaccine the day after I was scratched it would take 7 days for my body to produce antibodies so I ask if he could give me the immugloblin that day even though it was 5 days after being scratched I am worried because can the rabies virus infect me where it is not treatable in the 5 days from exposure to the time i I had the immugloblin injection into my hand around the scratch, just paranoid I'm from canada on vacation and not back until February 3 is there any possible risk of being infected in that 5 day span
Answered by Dr. Prasad 30 minutes later
Brief Answer: Please do not be worried... Detailed Answer: I hope the following comments puts your fears to rest: 1. Possibility of rabies is more dependent on whether or not the dog was infected. I tell my patients that if a bite was a provoked incident and the dog was not behaving abnormally/sick, the chances that the dog is rabid is unlikely. You wouldn't get rabies even if you aren't vaccinated from an uninfected animal. 2. Symptoms of rabies start when the virus start affecting brain and central nervous system. Very, very rarely does the infection affect within a weeks time. Most cases of rabies manifest after few weeks to months following exposure unless the wound is very large, close to the head, was contaminated with animal saliva/urine. Rabies immunoglobulin is mandatory in such cases. 3. When wound is small away from the head, vaccines given immediately is able to take care of the virus before it invades your brain. 4. Immunoglobulin that you received within 5 days should give you added protection against the virus before it affects you. 5. Antibody response is immediate. The titre starts to rise with time. Though there are no clear scientific evidence, 5 days is enough to have good amount of antibodies unless you are immunocompromised. To summarize, I wouldn't be concerned here. You can safely enjoy your vacation and proceed with vaccinations. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What is the window for anti rabies shot after a dog attack? 4 minutes later
Thank you for your answer one last thing is there a time frame that I will know for sure that I'm rabies free where I would have contracted the virus basically what I'm asking when will I know for sure that I didn't catch rabies and I'm healthy how long from exposure to death in humans
Answered by Dr. Prasad 40 hours later
Brief Answer: Unpredictable time frame... Detailed Answer: Unfortunately rabies has varied incubation time. As I said very, very rarely has rabies found to cause infection within a week. Most people experience symptoms during 1 - 3 months after exposure and few have had infection after an year. You should feel more safe if you don't develop any new symptoms in the next 3 months. Hope this answers your query. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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