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Post-Exposure Rabies Vaccine
Animal bites or scratches in Rabies infected countries are very serious. Whether it is a bite or a scratch, if the skin is broken you need urgent treatment.
A lick over broken skin is also significant, as this is enough to allow the rabies virus to enter.
If the skin is not broken, you do not need to be vaccinated. Sometimes it is hard to be sure if there is a break in the skin. In that case, it is safer to be vaccinated.
Even if you have been bitten a few days, or weeks ago, It is never too late to start. Rabies virus can incubate for several years before it causes symptoms.
If you wait until you get symptoms, it may be too late – there is no treatment for established rabies … rabies is fatal.
If you have been exposed to an animal bite, lick or scratch in a rabies infected country, you need to:
1. wash the wound gently with soap and running water for 5 minutes – do not scrub.
2. Call the clinic on 07 3221 9066 ASAP, and tell the reception staff you have been bitten by an animal overseas.
We will find you an appointment the same day. (If you are still overseas, you need to call your travel insurance hotline to find the nearest reliable medical provider )
For persons in Brisbane, post bite rabies vaccine is supplied FREE by QLD health, but there is a bit of paperwork required.
Dr Deb and her team have extensive experience caring for travellers bitten overseas.
Modern vaccines are extremely safe and given in the arm ( not the stomach as in times past). Since the vaccine takes 2 weeks to be effective, travellers who have not been preimmunised with rabies vaccine before their trip will need a special product called RIG injected in the wound – to slow the virus while the vaccine takes effect.
No one in their right mind would say after a snake bite in the Australian Bush – “Oh I will just see what happens”.
Call us now 07 3221 9066
For more information about rabies, you may like to review Dr Deb’s rabies blog post.