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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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How effective is the rabies vaccination?

Hello, I have a few queries about rabies and would appreciate some advice for peace of mind. A few pointers: - I m currently halfway through a 4 month trip around SE Asia, which has involved Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and now Vietnam. I m finishing the trip with Hong Kong and Japan where I believe both are rabies free. - I ve had the Verorab pre vaccinations just before we left- 3 doses by a UK clinic on day 0,7 and 21. - I ve had no known exposure to any animals and I ve actively stayed away due to my fear of this disease. However I am terrified of non apparent exposure or an exposure I may have disregarded or forgotten about. - At this point I m sure it will make sense that I do have OCD which I m hoping is the cause of my concerns. My questions: - I went diving and the fins caused broken skin on my toes. I ve since been terrified some saliva may have come into contact with me without me knowing (OCD remember) - my memory fails me. - I m also scared I ve touched something and touched my eyes or mouth. I understand rabies virus doesn t have long in the air but of course I m paranoid it s somehow still active when I ve touched something or something s touched my toes. - I want to know how effective Verorab is as a pre-vaccine and whether many documentated cases have been recoded of people getting rabies despite having pre shots (I understand you d need booster shots on day 0&3 after an exposure but for peace if mind I wondered how vital this is). For instance I ve heard technically you only need the booster shots as we can t be certain how much immunity the preshots have given us- and as no one is willing to risk it, just to be safe they advise getting further shots. - How effective is immunity if additional shots are given after the recommended 24 hours after exposure? Ie if I had them when I return home just to be safe... - When I return to the uk I want to get the additional booster shots just to be safe with the hope that if there was any contamination- the booster shots would get rid of it before symptoms kick in. Is this possible and correct? My biggest fear is successfully returning to the UK but living in fear of the very long incubation period and not knowing... If I had the booster shots and say a month later I m fine, does this mean 100% I did not have rabies or if I did, it s gone for good? Or could it still be incubating and present itself later in life? As you can see I m going through a lot of distress and it s causing me to fear leaving my hotel room. If anyone can shed any light and facts on the above topics I d be grateful. Please note I am receiving treatment for OCD but this rabies fear is a new theme and with me being here in Asia the risk is outdoing the irrationality, meaning my steps aren t working. I hope a doctor will understand. Thank you
Wed, 11 Jun 2014
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Infectious Diseases Specialist 's  Response
Verorab is an effective vaccine for pre-exposure prophylaxis. If you have taken it you shouldn't be worried. In case of a bite by a stray or licks on broken skin or mucous membrane you should take the booster on Day 0 and Day 3.
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How effective is the rabies vaccination?

Verorab is an effective vaccine for pre-exposure prophylaxis. If you have taken it you shouldn t be worried. In case of a bite by a stray or licks on broken skin or mucous membrane you should take the booster on Day 0 and Day 3.