1. 10 days observation is sufficient. This allows for the incubation of the virus to occur in the animal and for the animal to begin to demonstrate symptoms. And, if the treating physician and the patient (who was bitten) have decided to defer treatment (not recommended if there is high suspicion that the animal is rabid), then, the person may be treated at the first appearance of symptoms. This is rarely, if ever, recommended because rabies is 100% fatal in humans after an unvaccinated person develops symptoms.
Practice guidelines per CDC (Centers for Disease Control in the U.S.) do not recommend rabies treatment when a person is bitten by a pet that is confirmed or known to be immunized against the rabies virus. If the immunization status of the animal is unknown, then the decision to treat with rabies vaccination and immunoglobulin depends on the estimated risk that the animal is rabid and the nature of the bite.
2. Therefore, administering the immunoglobulin and vaccination after a person is bitten by an "unknown" animal is a VERY logical decision given the certainty of death following a human infection with rabies and the relatively low risk of adverse effects associated with the treatment. The 10 day quarantine period is recommended for the public health benefit of preventing the quarantined animal from biting someone else or from infecting another animal.
3. A dog that appears "asymptomatic" can transmit the rabies virus.
4. I agree that it is not helpful to get the rabies vaccination 3 weeks after a dog bite. Getting a vaccination 3 weeks later would only help with immunity against future exposures.
5. In your case, if you were previously vaccinated, there is a test that could have been done to confirm prior vaccination and immunity. I am not sure if this test is available where you live.
~•~ Dr. Parks
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.