What is the initial approach to evaluation for rabies after an acute or recent bite?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print

When the patient presents with a bite, the wound should be cleansed immediately with soap and water, flushing it thoroughly to remove saliva. Debridement and careful exploration for foreign body (eg, broken tooth) are essential; this should take at least 10 minutes. Generally, leave wounds to heal by secondary intention to permit drainage of wound fluids and prevent infection. [27, 28]

If the animal to which the patient was exposed has been captured, it should be delivered to a veterinarian for further evaluation or euthanasia; state health departments can then test the unfixed brain tissue. [29]

Consult immediately with public health authorities regarding need for prophylaxis.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!