Mammalian Bites and Rabies : Interesting Facts

Vaccination status of the biting animal

Although unvaccinated animals are more likely to transmit rabies, vaccinated animals can also do so if the vaccination of the biting animal was ineffective for any reason. A history of rabies vaccination in an animal is not always a guarantee that the biting animal can not transmit rabies. Animal vaccine failures may occur because of reasons like – Not enough time elapsed since vaccination(< 3 weeks), poor health status of the animal, incomplete course (schedule for dogs is – 1st dose at age 12 weeks, then 12 months & then a booster every 3 yrs) or missed boosters, etc. Hence, post exposure prophylaxis should be given irrespective of vaccination status of the animal.

Provoked versus unprovoked bite

A provoked dog bite should also be managed as an exposure and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) should be started immediately. A provoked bite does not mean that the biting animal is not rabid. It is difficult to understand what provokes a dog so it is prudent to start PEP at the earliest

Bite by animals other than dogs  and cats

Bite by all wild animals should be treated as category III exposure. All animal bites in forest or in the wild should be treated as category III exposure.

Bite by rodents

Exposure to domestic rodents, squirrel, hare and rabbits do not ordinarily require PEP.

1 Comment

  1. What are the ‘extraordinary’ circumstances in which rabies PostEP is required in “exposure to domestic rodents, squirrel, hare and rabbits”?


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