Rabies Vaccine

  • Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?

    Talk with your doctor before being vaccinated if you:

    • Had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of rabies vaccine or one of its parts

    • Have a weakened immune system from a disease, drug use, or
      cancer
    • Are ill—Wait until you recover to get the preventive vaccine. If you have been exposed to rabies, you should get the vaccine right away.

  • What Other Ways Can Rabies Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?

    Here are some ways to prevent rabies:

    • Vaccinate house pets.
    • Avoid contact with wild animals.
    • Do not touch any wild animal, even if it appears to be dead.
    • Seal basement, porch, and attic openings. This will prevent an animal from getting into your home.
    • Report animals that act strangely or look sick to animal control authorities.

    Rabies symptoms in animals may include:

    • Strange behavior (often overly aggressive or vicious)
    • Disorientation (such as nocturnal animals such as a bat or fox appearing in the daylight)

  • What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?

    In the event of an outbreak, authorities will identify and control the source of the outbreak. They will increase how often they monitor wild and domestic animals. Steps will be taken to increase animal rabies vaccination rates. Safety education will be provided to the public.

  • What Is Rabies?

    Rabies
    is an infection caused by a virus. This virus is almost always fatal unless it is treated before symptoms appear. It affects the central nervous system.

    People usually get rabies through a bite or scratch from an infected animal. Wild animals in the US that commonly carry the virus include bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Dogs, cats, and other domestic animals can also carry the disease. The rabies virus is found in the saliva, brain, or nervous tissue of infected animals. In the US, rabies in humans is rare. It is more common in other countries.

    Rabies symptoms include:

    • Flu-like
      symptoms, such as headache, fever, and fatigue
    • Pain, tingling, or itching at the site of the bite wound or other site of viral entry
    • An increase in saliva
    • Seizures
    • Painful spasms and contractions of the throat when swallowing
    • Erratic, excited, or bizarre behavior
    • Paralysis

    Symptoms may not appear for weeks or months after a bite.

    If an animal has bitten you, wash the wound with soap and water right away. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

  • What Are the Risks Associated With the Rabies Vaccine?

    Like any vaccine, the rabies vaccine can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of serious harm or death is extremely small.


    The most commonly reported problems include:

    • Soreness, redness, swelling, or itching around the injection site
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Abdominal pain
    • Muscle aches
    • Dizziness
    • Hives
    • Pain in the joints
    • Fever


    Rarely, an illness similar to
    Guillain-Barre syndrome
    and other nervous system disorders have been reported with the vaccine.

  • What Is the Rabies Vaccine?

    The vaccine is made from killed rabies virus. It is given by injection.

  • Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?

    There are two reasons someone should get the rabies vaccines:

    • Preventive vaccination
    • Vaccination after exposure