Rabies Vaccine Information Sheet (VIS)


What is Rabies?

Rabies is a fatal disease that results from a scratch or bite of an infected animal. Rabies is caused by a lethal virus that humans can be exposed to when bitten by an infected animal; most commonly, dogs, cats, bats raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes. Exposure to rabid dogs is still the cause of over 90% of human exposures to rabies and of over 99% of human deaths worldwide.

If rabies is left untreated, it is 100% fatal. During the early stages of the disease, the symptoms are non-specific, however, they usually involve the central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and respiratory systems.

Who needs the Rabies vaccination? When?

The rabies virus is present in every continent on earth, except Antarctica. It is considered to be endemic in a number of rural areas in a several countries around the world. These include, but are not limited to, Indonesia, Ecuador, Yemen, Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam, El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Brazil, Peru, Bangladesh, China and India.

Some travelers to these areas need the protection of a “PRE-EXPOSURE” rabies vaccine series. In addition to those travelers, animal control workers, some wildlife workers and veterinarians also need to receive the protection of a pre-exposure rabies vaccination series. The rabies pre-exposure vaccination series consists of three shots given over a three to four week period. The first shot is followed by a second shot a week later, and a third shot is given two to three weeks after the second one.

What are the risks of the Rabies vaccine?

The risk of a serious side effect arising from the vaccine is extremely rare. The most common reactions to this vaccine are mild and include itching, swelling, redness, and soreness where the shot is given.  About 5 to 40 percent of people who get the vaccine experience brief muscle aches, dizziness, abdominal pain, nausea, and headaches. About 6 percent of patients experience low grade fever and transient joint pains.

How can I learn more about the Rabies vaccine?

Call the Kansas City Travel and Immunization Clinic today at (913) 469-0011 and one of our knowledgeable staff will be able to assist you.