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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Rabies

The Disease

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.  The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death.

The Vaccine

Rabies post exposure vaccinations consists of a dose of human rabies immune globulin and four doses of rabies vaccine given on the day of the exposure, and then again on days 3, 7, and 14. The vaccine is given in a muscle, usually in the upper arm. This set of vaccinations is highly effective at preventing rabies if given as soon as possible following an exposure.

Who Should get Vaccinated?

See your doctor for attention for any injury due to an animal attack before considering the need for rabies vaccination.  Your doctor, possibly in consultation with your state or local health department, will decide if you need a rabies vaccination. Decisions to start vaccination, known as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), will be based on your type of exposure and the animal you were exposed to, as well as laboratory and surveillance information for the geographic area where the exposure occurred.

North Carolina Requirements

Rabies vaccination is not required in North Carolina.

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