Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment specialist Warning Signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause Transmission

Rabies Treatment

Rabies Post-exposure Prophylaxis
The treatment of rabies focuses on prevention. After exposure to an animal with rabies, a person must receive rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.

Post-exposure prophylaxis consists of an initial injection with rabies immune globulin. This is followed by a series of 6 vaccinations with human diploid cell vaccine. The first dose is given on the day of the bite, followed by doses on day 3, 7, 14, 28, and 90.

Bites from wild animals require rabies post-exposure prophylaxis if the animal cannot be captured for analysis. If the animal is captured, it is killed and tested to determine if it has rabies, before vaccinations are started.

Bites from dogs or cats require post-exposure prophylaxis if the animal is not caught and there is a risk of rabies. If the animal is captured, it may be observed for 10 days. If the animal develops no signs of infection, rabies prophylaxis is not necessary for the bite victim.

Rabies Infection Treatment
There is no cure for a rabies infection if prevention is not effective. Treatment is largely supportive.

Treatment of rabies infection may include:

  • Intravenous fluids
  • Intravenous medications for rabies:
    • Antiviral medications for rabies
  • Mechanical ventilation:
    • Respiratory support on a ventilator

Rabies Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat rabies:

Continue to Rabies Warning Signs

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Rabies References
  1. Baevsky RH, Bartfield JM. Human rabies: a review. Am J Emerg Med. 1993 May;11(3):279-86. [8489675]
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human rabies--Florida, 2004. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Aug 12;54(31):767-8. [16094285]
  3. McKay N, Wallis L. Rabies: a review of UK management. Emerg Med J. 2005 May;22(5):316-21. [15843695]
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