Schedule: The pre-exposure schedule for rabies vaccination is 3 doses. Anyone who has been bitten by an animal, or who otherwise may have been exposed to rabies, should see a doctor immediately. The doctor will determine if they need to be vaccinated.
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.
The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.
CDC website provides rabies vaccine recommendations and guidelines.
Vaccines.gov provides resources from federal agencies for the general public and their communities about vaccines across the lifespan.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provides questions and answers about rabies from the Vaccine Education Center.
Kids Health by Nemours has information about the rabies infection, including signs and symptoms, contagiousness, prevention, incubation, duration and treatment.