My sister was bitten by a dog last Friday (6/28) while out on a run. She went to urgent care and had the small wound cleaned and examined. Her tetanus was updated and she was also put on heavy duty antibiotics.
Since then we have not been able to confirm the identity of the dog, or, obviously, if its shots are current. The doctor who examined her said it was unlikely she had rabies, but to come back in if she developed a fever or started having seizures, etc.
My question is: should she get the rabies shots as a precaution or should we trust the doctor's judgment based on the physical examination? I guess I don't understand why a doctor would essentially recommend to wait until rabies' symptoms showed up before seeking additional treatment, since by the time symptoms show the disease is fatal. Obviously I am not a doctor, so maybe this is standard procedure.
If someone could lend some insight, I would appreciate it. I am very concerned for my sisters health, but maybe I am being alarmist.
cases of rabies recorded in recent years in the US were almost only from wildlife, statistically the chances that your sister had rabies from that dog are close to zero.
That is probably why the Doc. said so.
"In this century, the number of human deaths in the United States attributed to rabies has declined from 100 or more each year to an average of 2 or 3 each year. Two programs have been responsible for this decline. First, animal control and vaccination programs begun in the 1940's and oral rabies vaccination programs in the 2000's have eliminated domestic dogs as reservoirs of rabies in the United States. Second, effective human rabies vaccines and immunoglobulins have been developed."
If the dog had rabies it should be dead by now. One other hint would be the dog's behavior, you would expect a rabid dog to be sick and attack in consequence of fear, not a "normal" aggressive behavior.
Thank you for your reply. My initial question was unclear - I meant so say we have not been able to find the dog that did it. It attacked her while she was running, she only noticed it sprinting at her out of the corner of her eye. It lunged at her twice and she managed to step out of its way, but it got her on the third try. However it wasn't limping or seem impaired physically. It also had a dog collar, so hopefully that means someone is keeping up with its shots!
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question. I will try not to be such a worry wart!
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