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Question:
My friends have a 6 year-old son who had 2 pet rats. One of them died (supposedly of virus pnemonia) having bitten the father and scratched the mother. The preliminary autopsy exam showed no signs of rabies. The final test results will be ready in only 3 weeks. The couple was advised to start getting 6 shots based on a 90-day schedule. They don't know if they should get the shots for their son. How critical is it? What do you recommend?
IR
Answer:
Thank you for your question, Rabies is a serious disease that is caused by a virus. It attacks the central nervous system and ultimaly will generally cause death. The disease can be prevented by the use of post exposure treatment(after you came in contact with the animal) i.e. vaccine and immunoglobulins. Rabies is a virus that is transmitted by saliva of infected animal and is introduced to humans by bites, scratches and licking of open wounds. Rats can be secondary carriers of rabies and can therefore transmit the disease to humans. In this present situation, it was suggested to the father and mother that they start post exposure prophylaxis. It is possible that a 6 year old child got bitten or scratched by the same rat and did not tell his parents. In this circumstance, I would therefore think that it might be appropriate to treat the child if the parents were also treated. Hope this helps, As always it is suggested that they consult their doctor to discuss this present situation and obtain the appropriate treatment if needed to prevent this disease. Regards,
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