If an animal bites you, seek medical attention for the wound. Also tell the doctor about the circumstances of your injury. The doctor will ask:
- What animal bit you?
- Was it a wild animal or a pet?
- If it was a pet, do you know to whom the animal belongs?
- Can you describe the animal's behavior before it bit you? Was the animal provoked?
- Were you able to capture or kill the animal after it bit you?
What you can do in the meantime
Wash your wound gently and thoroughly with soap and generous amounts of water. This may help wash away the virus.
If the animal that bit you can be contained or captured without causing more injury, do so. Do not kill the animal with a blow or a shot to the head, as the resulting injuries may make it difficult to perform laboratory tests to determine whether the animal has rabies.
Tell your doctor that you have captured the animal that bit you. Your doctor may then contact the local health department to determine what to do with the animal.
Jan. 02, 2014
- Ferri FF. Practical Guide to the Care of the Medical Patient. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=40. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Hemachudha T, et al. Human rabies: Neuropathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. The Lancet Neurology. 2013;12:498.
- Rabies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Use of a reduced (4-dose) vaccine schedule for postexposure prophylaxis to prevent human rabies — Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR. 2010;59:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5902a1.htm. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
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