Rabies vaccination schedule
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Rabies vaccination schedule

I keep getting questions about this, so herewith once again the schedule for rabies vaccination.

If you are bitten and have never had rabies vaccination the schedule is:

- 1st injection on day zero which is the day of the bite
- 2nd injection on day 3
- 3rd injection on day 7
- 4th injection on day 14
- 5th injection on day 28

If you are bitten and have been vaccinated within the past three years with at least three vaccinations the schedule is:

- 1st injection on day zero which is the day of the bite
- 2nd injection on day 7
- 3rd injection on day 21

In cases of very severe bites the World Health Organisation recommends in addition to the first anti-rabies injection, a shot of Rabies Immunoglobin.

Note that this is a blood derived product and can cause severe allergies. Furthermore, it is expensive and not all hospitals have it in stock.

If you have had the pre-bite vaccinations you not need the Rabies Immunoglobin.

To keep the validity up to date get a booster shot every year. With that you can follow the after-bite schedule in case you get bitten.
Note: there are manufacturers that recommend booster shots only every 3 years.

First Aid
Wash the wound with water and soap for at least 10 minutes under running water. After that apply 70% alcohol or Iodine. These two simple steps reduced the chance that the rabies virus stays potent for upto 90%.

Do remember that according to the World Health Organisation India has between 20,000 -22,000 human deaths caused by rabies. This figure is one-third of the world's rabies deaths.

However the Indian government disputes this figure and say it is less than a 1,000 annually.

According to people working in the field, the figure is much higher than even the World Health Organisation estimates.


- that rabies is not a notifiable disease so hospitals are not obliged to inform the government if somebody has died of rabies.

- rabies can only be confirmed after death, through a brain autopsy. Apparently in India very few people give permission to conduct such autopsy. on a diseased person.

- if they do give permission there are only 4 or 5 laboratories in India which can conduct the test to confirm rabies.

- most people that die of rabies are poor people that could not afford to seek medical help. Their deaths are unlikely to be registered as rabies deaths.

- probably 80% of people who die of rabies are children.

On rabies:

There are two types of rabies: furious rabies and dumb rabies.

Furious rabies is a form whereby the animal becomes aggressive and starts biting. It is estimated that 40% of the rabies cases are furious rabies.
Do keep in mind that not all dogs that bite have rabies. Severe pain, especially head injuries, can show very similar behaviour.

Dumb rabies is a form whereby the animal becomes passive, hides in dark places and whilst it slowly get paralysised. In dumb rabies the animal is rarely aggresive. It is thought that many human rabies deaths are caused by dumb rabies because people did not realise the dog is rabid.

Lastly, all mammals can get rabies, including cows.

Attached the instructions of two different manufacturers of the anti-rabies vaccinations. The format is small so you will have to enlarge is somehow.
Attached Images
Rabipur instructions.jpg ,Rabivax instructions.jpg 
The time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they look upon the murder of men.

2 Replies

| Member
Hi. I am in India now, and was playing with a street dog in Rishikesh, Laxman Jhula, two nights ago. He didn't seem rabid but he was play biting my hands, enough to leave a red scratch. I got my first booster of Verorab in Bangkok on 12 of February, and then another booster of Rabipur on the 19 of February in Chennai, however I never got the last Rabipur booster scheduled for 4th March. Should I go in for post-exposure vaccine or should I not worry about it? Thanks
| Loud Noisy Bird
I am not a doctor but I would go for a full five-dose post- exposure course if you never had the full pre- exposure. Please note that rabies vaccinations is not get-and-forget: even if up-to-date, you still need the three post-exposure injections after a bite/scratch.

I'd also say... it was two nights ago, and you're wasting time asking on the internet? But then I am 100% risk averse when it comes to rabies, and have had two sets of vaccinations for two bites from a known animal, including going to the hospital in the middle of the night. It's over the top, but it is better than death.

There is also something that you should have done, the mandatory first aid: wash and scrub the wound (even if only a scratch) with water and disinfectant for a full ten minutes.

As you can tell by now, I seriously believe in taking zero risk with rabies. You already know how easy, [almost] painless, and low-cost the injections are: do go to a hospital and take the course.
Life gets aadhar every day.

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