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What Are The Risks Of Contracting Rabies Through Dog Blood?

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Posted on Sat, 5 Sep 2015
Question: sir/mam, i m worried about an incident that occured theybeforeyesterday that, i was feeding street dogs, i had put my hand in one dog's neck, i didnt realize that the dog was bleeding and the blood of the dog touched my thumb of right hand on whole nail. the previous night my thumb was bleeding because of nail cuting. unfortunately, the dog's blood touched my thumb finger only. after that i washed my thumb finger with dettol and water. i m tensed and anxious abt that incident. may be rabies?. whether i m infected or not. what measures are 2 be taken? please help me and guide me. thank you.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sonia Raina (51 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Seek rabies vaccine shots, medical help

Detailed Answer:
Hello, greetings!

I understand your concern, but it is highly unlikely to predict if you are infected with rabies. Nevertheless, as an unimmunized street dog's blood has been in contact with a fresh-cut wound on your thumb, I recommend you go for a post exposure anti-rabies prophylaxis. It is good that you washed the wound immediately.
Usually the vaccine has to be administered on 4 different days starting right on the day of the incident, but since you didn't seek immediate medical help, you should do so at the earliest. Get the first dose of rabies vaccine immediately and after that on days three, seven and fourteen after the first.
Don't try to bandage the wound. Also I would recommend to get a tetanus shot, if you haven't had one in the past 6 months. A local surgeon would be able to help you getting vaccinated.
Observe the behaviour of the dog. If it behaves aggressive, has excessive salivation or bites when unprovoked, it indicates that the dog maybe suffering from rabies.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Sonia Raina (33 minutes later)
Thank you mam.
the dog is never aggressive nor she has excessive salivation except in very hot climate.
as the infection is highly unlikely to predict, if i dont have infection and i took vaccination, there vl be any problem?
my thumb is looking fine and normal now and no pain also.
i heard that rabies is transmitted through biting or scratching. it can even spread through dog's blood to human's blood?
i have not informed my parents about this. if untreated what can happen? because at the end of this month only i can go to the doctor because of money purposes.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sonia Raina (25 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
still recommend post exposure prophylaxis

Detailed Answer:
Hello, greetings! It is certainly good news that the dog is not showing any symptoms of rabies. But, animals can be asymptomatic for as long as 2 years.
Thus, I would recommend that you still opt for the vaccine prophylaxis.

It is true that rabies is spread mainly by saliva, though there are rare reports of rabies transmission through air, human infected organ transplantation etc.
You stated that you were feeding the dog. Thus, if the infectious saliva from a rabid animal gets directly into your eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound, there maybe a possibility of rabies.
If untreated, there is a good chance that you are not infected by the rabies virus, but there is a slim possibility too that there has been an occurence of infection and it may manifest months to years later.
Side effects of the rabies vaccine may include headache, body pain, redness at the contact site, but the side effects are extremely rare. If you do not have rabies but still take vaccination there is minimal harm to you, you may develop antibodies without reason and they get vanished soon.
If you have any more queries please feel free to ask me, or please close this question and rate it. All the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Sonia Raina (24 minutes later)
mam, last question. how much it will cost and after 10 days if i get vaccinated it vl be ok?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Sonia Raina (10 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
observe dog for 10 days, if normal, discontinue treatment

Detailed Answer:
Hello, greetings! As a guideline, it is recommended that the treatment be started as early as possible, you could observe the behaviour of the dog for the next 10 days. If the dog is absolutely normal, or doesn't die abruptly then it would suggest that the dog is not infected with rabies. In that case, you can discontinue the anti rabies treatment after 10 days. In case the dog can't be kept for observation, I would recommend you go ahead with the whole course of the vaccine.
I am sorry but I am unable to give you an overview about the pricing of the vaccine as it varies from one institution to another. As a rule, government and government funded institutions provide vaccines at a cheaper price. At a private institution, the cost of each dose is 374 INR along with the hospital/practitioner charges added.
Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vinay Bhardwaj
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Answered by
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Dr. Sonia Raina

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2013

Answered : 182 Questions

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What Are The Risks Of Contracting Rabies Through Dog Blood?

Brief Answer: Seek rabies vaccine shots, medical help Detailed Answer: Hello, greetings! I understand your concern, but it is highly unlikely to predict if you are infected with rabies. Nevertheless, as an unimmunized street dog's blood has been in contact with a fresh-cut wound on your thumb, I recommend you go for a post exposure anti-rabies prophylaxis. It is good that you washed the wound immediately. Usually the vaccine has to be administered on 4 different days starting right on the day of the incident, but since you didn't seek immediate medical help, you should do so at the earliest. Get the first dose of rabies vaccine immediately and after that on days three, seven and fourteen after the first. Don't try to bandage the wound. Also I would recommend to get a tetanus shot, if you haven't had one in the past 6 months. A local surgeon would be able to help you getting vaccinated. Observe the behaviour of the dog. If it behaves aggressive, has excessive salivation or bites when unprovoked, it indicates that the dog maybe suffering from rabies.