|Description:||This photograph depicts a female child who was wearing a bandage in a doctor’s office after she’d been being bitten by an animal suspected of being rabid.|
Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is indicated protocol to be followed for persons who’d possibly been exposed to a rabid animal. Possible exposures include animal bites, or mucous membrane contamination with infectious tissue, such as saliva. PEP should begin as soon as possible after an exposure. There have been no vaccine failures in the United States (i.e. someone developed rabies) when PEP was given promptly and appropriately after an exposure.
There is no treatment for rabies after symptoms of the disease appear. However, two decades ago scientists developed an extremely effective new rabies vaccine regimen that provides immunity to rabies when administered after an exposure (postexposure prophylaxis), or for protection before an exposure occurs (preexposure prophylaxis). Although rabies among humans is rare in the United States, every year an estimated 18,000 people receive rabies preexposure prophylaxis, and an additional 40,000 receive postexposure prophylaxis.