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Q. Can I get rabies if I live in the region of rabid dogs?

Answered by
Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 01, 2022

Hello doctor,

I recently went to scout camp for three days and had to sit on the floor. I also had to reuse my uniform (three times), and the toilet was filthy and unclean. I also only bathed once on the second day, about 20 minutes after the swimming activity (more info in the last line). The clothes I wore consisted of three sweatpants and three T-shirts, and one uniform. I reused the uniform, but it did not dry up. So I used one pair of sweat pants as an evening outfit, pajamas, and an exercise outfit for the next day, and put it into the plastic bags. There was no equipment to wash clothes.

More Information:

The camp is on a mountainside in Thailand where there are dogs, and many dogs are rabid (about 10%).

The concrete floor was dry and dirty.

I stored my used clothes in sealed plastic bags and the uniform in other plastic bags (which I reused with one of my underwear).

The temperature was about 21 to 33 degree Celsius.

There were also many dogs in the camp area, but did not look aggressive. Unfortunately, I forgot what they look like.

What concerns me the most is that I have five to six cuts (no bleeding or minor bleeding) in my legs, and one of the activities was swimming (in a pond). I do not know if it was chlorinated, but it was exposed to sunlight, and the water looked green. I swam in it with ordinary cloth, which I put into a used cloth bag (which is where I kept the used underwear). Unfortunately, this also wet my shoes.

The tent I used to sleep in was closed, with one fan, some windows (which did not reach the two clothes bags, and it was closed), and no air conditioning.

Are there any chances I am at risk of rabies or other infectious diseases? (if any, please also tell me).

Please answer this as soon as possible. I am so anxious and I cannot sleep because of this.

Please also provide a detailed explanation of your research.

Thank you.

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I read your query and I can understand your concern.

Kindly do not worry so much.

If you are worried about contracting rabies, please note that unless you come in contact directly with a rabid dog by bites and or scratches, preferably leading to bleeding, you need not take a postexposure prophylaxis regimen of about five anti-rabies dosages.

However, if you are still worried about the situation around you, kindly go ahead and take preexposure prophylaxis rabies vaccines.

As per World Health Organisation, one dose of intramuscular or intradermal vaccine injection in the deltoid region on days 0, 7, and 21 or 28 is recommended. In addition, only intramuscular injections must be used if you take any medicines to prevent malaria.

For other diseases that dogs bear, such as tickbite fever, you need to be directly in contact to get exposed to those diseases.

However, it is highly recommended to maintain good hygiene and maintain distance from potentially rabid animals.

I hope this helps.

Thank you and take care.


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