- Key Facts
- RxDx Vaccines
- Dogs continue to be the main carrier of rabies in Africa and Asia and are responsible for most of the human rabies deaths worldwide. Humans most often become infected with rabies through the bite or scratch of an infected dog or cat.
- Rabies is widely distributed across the globe. It is a virus that is transmitted to humans from animals. More than 55 000 people die of rabies each year. About 95% of human deaths occur in Asia and Africa.
- Most human deaths follow a bite from an infected dog. 30% – 60% of victims of dog bites are children under the age of 15.
- Wound cleansing and immunizations, done as soon as possible after suspect contact with an animal and following WHO recommendations, can prevent the onset of rabies in virtually 100% of exposures.
- Once the signs and symptoms of rabies start to appear, there is no treatment and the disease is almost always fatal.
RxDx has two vaccines available:
Both of these vaccines can be given:
- As immunizations to patients to help protect against rabies infection in the future
- As vaccination after a bite, scratch or lick from a wild animal.
What’s the advantage of being immunized against rabies?
Being vaccinated simplifies treatment by eliminating the need for rabies immune globulin and decreasing the number of doses of vaccine needed after an exposure. This is important because many people at high risk may be working in areas where they may not be able to get immediate medical attention, or where immunizing products are not readily available. Being vaccinated might also provide protection against unknown exposures to rabies (bat bite, etc.)
A person who has been bitten, scratched or even licked by an animal should firstly clean / disinfect the wound. The person should then call the clinic or hospital pharmacy to ensure that the clinic they go to has the correct vaccinations required.
A person with no previous vaccination:
An exposed person who has never received any rabies vaccine will first receive a dose of rabies immune globulin (a blood product that contains antibodies against rabies), which gives immediate, short-term protection. This shot should be given in or near the wound area.
They should also be given a series of rabies vaccinations. The first dose should be given as soon as possible after the exposure. Additional doses should be given on days three, seven, and 14 after the first shot. Children can also receive the shots. Properly administered postexposure treatment for rabies has never been known to fail.
A previously vaccinated person:
A vaccinated person should receive two doses of rabies vaccine; one dose immediately and one three days later.
- Rabies is a fatal virus if not treated immediately with vaccinations
- Once symptoms begin to appear, it is too late for treatment
- The first symptoms of rabies are flu-like, including fever, headache and fatigue, and then progress to involve the respiratory, gastrointestinal and/or central nervous systems.
- In the critical stage, signs of hyperactivity (furious rabies) or paralysis (dumb rabies) dominate.
- In both furious and dumb rabies, some paralysis eventually progresses to complete paralysis, followed by coma and death in all cases, usually due to breathing failure.
- Without intensive care, death occurs during the first seven days of illness