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Mar 20

Rabies- What You Need to Know!

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. However, in many other countries dogs still carry rabies, and most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.

How can you prevent rabies in people and your pets?

Understanding your rabies risk and knowing what to do after contact with animals can save lives. Any mammal can get rabies, but the most commonly affected animals in the United States are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes — so the best way to avoid rabies in the U.S. is to stay away from wildlife.

  1. Leave all wildlife alone. Don’t touch it; contact local authorities for assistance.
  2. Know the risk: contact with infected bats is the leading cause of rabies deaths in people is the U.S., followed by exposure to rabid dogs while traveling internationally or unvaccinated dogs.
  3. Wash animal bites or scratches immediately with soap and water.
  4. If you are bitten, scratched, or unsure, talk to a healthcare provider about whether you need postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). Rabies in people is 100% preventable through prompt appropriate medical care.
  5. Vaccinate your pets to protect them and your family.
  6. Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.
  7. Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly care for or vaccinated regularly.
  8. Call animal control or local authorities to remove all stray animals from your neighborhood since they may be unvaccinated or ill.

Click here to see Animal Rabies Chart and the Recommendations for managing human rabies exposures.

Click here to see Bat Rabies Chart and the Recommendations for managing exposures.

What is Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP)?

What medical care will I receive if I may have been exposed to rabies?

Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) consists of a dose of human rabies immune globulin (HRIG) and rabies vaccine given on the day of the rabies exposure, and then a dose of vaccine given again on days 3, 7, and 14. For people who have never been vaccinated against rabies previously, postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) should always include administration of both HRIG and rabies vaccine. The combination of HRIG and vaccine is recommended for both bite and non-bite exposures, regardless of the interval between exposure and initiation of treatment.

Programs for Uninsured and Underinsured Patients

Patient assistance programs that provide medications to uninsured or underinsured patients are available for rabies vaccine and immune globulin.

Sanofi Pasteur’s Patient Assistance Program (providing Imogam® human rabies immune globulin and Imovax® rabies vaccine, as well as other vaccines) is now administered through the Franklin Group. A healthcare professional or patient can either contact the Franklin Group directly or call the customer service team (1-800-VACCINE) who will transfer them to the Franklin Group. The Franklin Group will review the application against the eligibility criteria. For more information about the program or to request an application, please contact the Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. Patient Assistance Program (Franklin Group) at 1-866-801-5655. Instructions and request forms are also available at the Sanofi Patient Connectionexternal icon website.

Grifols’ Patient Assistance Program for HyperRAB® human rabies immune globulin is available for some uninsured patients and can be accessed by calling 1-833-504-9983. Please note that an application for assistance must be completed and approved prior to administration of product.

Kedrion Biopharma’s Patient Assistance Program for KEDRAB® human rabies immune globulin is administered through Medmonk. Patients who are uninsured can apply for assistance by calling 1-866-234-3732 or by visiting the KEDRAB Patient Assistance Programexternal icon website.

At this time, Bavarian Nordic does not offer a patient assistance program for RabAvert rabies vaccine.