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When a person is bitten by a dog infected with rabies what are the first aid measures that must be taken? And within how much time should the person consult a doctor?

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  1. Wound cleansing is especially important when bitten, as it has been shown to remarlably reduce the risk of infections from animal bites in general, and in some animal studies, the likelihood of rabies infection.

    This treatment should be immediate: irrigate with water or diluted water povidone-iodine solution.

    You should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Animal bites are, by themselves, potentially very serious puncture wounds, and have the potential for a number of other infections beyond simply rabies.

  2. Post-exposure vaccination - For people who have never been vaccinated against rabies previously, post-exposure anti-rabies vaccination should always include administration of both passive antibody and vaccine.

    In the United States, post-exposure prophylaxis consists of a regimen of one dose of immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine over a 14-day period. Rabies immune globulin and the first dose of rabies vaccine should be given by your health care provider as soon as possible after exposure. Additional doses or rabies vaccine should be given on days 3, 7, and 14 after the first vaccination.


Sources:

CDC - Rabies: Medical Care

CDC - Rabies: When should I seek medical attention

  • From both of your sources: "One of the most effective ways to decrease the chance for infection is to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water." Please make sure your sources back up your claims. Also, there are factual errors in your answer. Please double check against reliable sources. – anongoodnurse May 4 '15 at 19:02
  • From the CDC: "The first dose of the four-dose course should be administered as soon as possible after exposure." I'd call that an emergency. – Fomite May 4 '15 at 22:08
  • @anongoodnurse The CDC page recommends the providone-iodine irrigation for the prevention of bacterial infections that might also accompany the bite. – Fomite May 4 '15 at 22:10
  • @anongoodnurse And from that page: "Wound cleansing is especially important in rabies prevention since, in animal studies, thorough wound cleansing alone without other postexposure prophylaxis has been shown to markedly reduce the likelihood of rabies." The OP is quoting verbatim. – Fomite May 4 '15 at 22:17
  • @Fomite - I agree that washing the wound is important. My intent was to have the OP edit "soap and water" into the answer: "All postexposure prophylaxis should begin with immediate thorough cleansing of all wounds with soap and water. If available, a virucidal agent such as povidine-iodine solution should be used to irrigate the wounds." - CDC. Also, we do not irrigate with providone-iodine for animal bites in the ED. (The use of providone-iodine is very much restricted compared to 20 years ago.) There is no literature to support it, and some against. – anongoodnurse May 4 '15 at 22:42

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