Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a combination of rabies immune globulin (RIG) and rabies vaccine that is given to a person to prevent rabies from developing. PEP is given to a person who has been potentially exposed to the rabies virus through a bite or a scratch from an infected animal. PEP is effective in preventing the development of rabies if administered before any signs and symptoms of the disease develop. Health care providers do not carry a supply of RIG and rabies vaccine, but can request if from the health unit.
RIG provides immediate passive protection until the exposed person develops an immune response to the rabies vaccine. The amount of RIG given is based on a person's body weight.
Rabies vaccine is given as either four doses over a 14 day period or five doses over a 28 day period (refer below for details).
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (for a person who HAS NOT received rabies vaccine before):
- For an immunocompetent person:
- RIG and four doses of rabies vaccine are given over a 14 day period.
- For an immunocompromised person:
- RIG and five doses of rabies vaccine are given over a 28 day period.
Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (for a person who HAS received rabies vaccine before):
- Two doses of rabies vaccine are given on day 0 and day 3.
- RIG is not given unless there are concerns with the person's vaccination history.
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis may be prescribed by a health care provider for people at risk of close contact with rabid animals:
- Laboratory workers who handle rabies virus.
- Veterinarians, veterinary staff, animal control, and wildlife workers.
- Certain travellers.
- Hunters and trappers in areas with confirmed rabies.
- The health unit DOES NOT provide pre-exposure prophylaxis. A prescription is needed from a health care provider that is filled at a pharmacy.
For more information about bat rabies and your health, contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit the health unit's website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.