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am I being crazy? (rabies fear)


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The other day my roommate got a very very light scratch by a stray cat. Some time ago she was bit by a cat too. I shared a cup with her today by accident... could I get rabies? Or is this the OCD talking?

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This is a tough one. Theoretically, you could get rabies from someone who was bit by a rabid cat by sharing a cup with them. A person is unlikely to get rabies from a scratch, but of course, one could get rabies from a bite. How likely is it that the cat that bit her has rabies? Is rabies a big problem in Egypt in the city?

I really think that the chain of events that you describe make getting rabies unlikely. If you are really worried, I suggest you see a doctor.

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She got bit in Jordan and was recommended to just ignore it for some reason. I don't remember how long ago she said she was in Jordan.

From what I can find online, rabies can't be transmitted until the animal/person is already symptomatic. So in that regard I think I'm safe. 

Edited to add: Damn you, OCD. Seriously. 

Edited by aura
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44 minutes ago, aura said:

From what I can find online, rabies can't be transmitted until the animal/person is already symptomatic. So in that regard I think I'm safe. 

I would consult a doctor to verify that and to put your mind at ease. Ordinarily, I'd say it's probably nothing to worry about but rabies is an untreatable fatal disease and I really would rather you to be safe.

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Here's what the Centers for Disease Control have to say about rabies exposure human to human:
 

Quote

The only well-documented cases of rabies caused by human-to-human transmission occurred among eight recipients of transplanted corneas, and among three recipients of solid organs. Guidelines for acceptance of suitable cornea and organ donations, as well as the rarity of human rabies in the United States, reduce this risk.

In addition to transmission from cornea and organ transplants, bite and non-bite exposures inflicted by infected humans could theoretically transmit rabies, but no such cases have been documented. Casual contact, such as touching a person with rabies or contact with non-infectious fluid or tissue (urine, blood, feces) does not constitute an exposure and does not require postexposure prophylaxis.--https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/index.html

 

And here's what the World Health Organization says:

Quote

People are usually infected following a deep bite or scratch from an animal with rabies, and transmission to humans by rabid dogs accounts for 99% of cases...

Transmission can also occur when infectious material – usually saliva – comes into direct contact with human mucosa or fresh skin wounds. Human-to-human transmission through bites is theoretically possible but has never been confirmed.--http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/

 

So you're looking at a hypothetical exposure with a theoretical route of transmission that has never been documented as an actual event in the entire history of humans understanding what rabies is, how it's contracted, and how to treat it.

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It turns out she got bit by the cat last summer, and no rabies happened. And the "scratch" didn't break the skin, but left a red mark that has since gone. 

@Wooster Thanks for the info, it helps a lot.

@jt07 I'll try to reach a doctor online. It's a holiday here and I don't think this warrants an emergency room visit.

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I asked a doctor online (that's all I really have access to right now) and the respone was...

 

Question: My roommate was scratched (very lightly) by a stray cat the other day. Then a couple of days later I shared a drink with her. Could I get rabies?

Response: Hi (aura)!
Thanks for your query.
Rabies does not get transmitted by drinking.
It is trasmitted from direct bite or scratch from an infected animal.
Rest assure eating or drinking does not trasmitte rabies.
Thanks.

 

So I guess I should drop this?? OCD wants to keep focusing on it. Getting the vaccine just to calm my mind isn't an option sadly...

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OCD will do what it does.

You've given yourself legit medical information, and the OCD will still try to do what it does. The OCD doesn't require you to participate or play into it. It can sit over there *points to wherever the OCD lives when it doesn't take over* and you can still wave to it from time to time an acknowledge its existence.

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On 9/1/2017 at 6:17 AM, survivingbp said:

  If you're really worried about rabies (even if not rationally), would it be worth getting the vaccines as a permanent preventative measure? They don't prevent everything but they do give you a lot more time, and you don't need immunoglobin (just a couple of booster vaccines). They provide this level of protection for the rest of your life. Knowing I had that helped me to sleep well. 

@auraI know a little about the preventative protocol as my daughter is a veterinary student, and was required to get the preventative vaccines to enter school.....They are VERY expensive, but the school was able to help us out to get them for less.....Even then, they still weren't exactly cheap.

The preventative protocol does require 3 shots--the rabies immunoglobulin, then 2 more boosters....Even after getting the preventative protocol, , if she was bitten or scratched by a "suspect animal". she would have to get an additional 2 boosters.

The rabies vaccination doesn't last forever ......Veterinarians are required to titer themselves every 2 years, to see if they still have an effective antibody level,....If their antibody level has fallen below protective levels when they titer,  they must do the entire 3 shot protocol again.

Also, this past March (6 months ago), I was bitten by a stray dog that got away--Animal Control never found him, so I had to get post-exposure shots......The post-exposure protocol  includes 5 shots--the immunoglobulin, plus 4 boosters..........Luckily my insurance covered it, because the cost was astronomical.

So aura, I think you are safe , if this woman was bitten/scratched a year ago....The incubation period for rabies averages about 1-3 months, and then the bitten person would show symptoms......After showing symptoms, the victim would die within 7-10 days.

Believe me. I know more about rabies now than I ever wanted to.......

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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Aura - Where I work, we deal with the question of rabies all the time in relation to bats, which are known carriers of the disease. The incidence of actual transmission by scratch from animal to human is really quite small, although a person scratched, bitten or exposed to the fluids of an unknown status animal are urged to see a doctor for preventative treatment just in case. In your case, however, you're talking about a fear of second-hand transmission by sharing a cup with someone who was scratched a year ago. If the other person was infected and did not receive treatment, that person would have been too dead for you to drink out of her cup. You can safely forget about it.

Edited by Cerberus
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11 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Aura - Where I work, we deal with the question of rabies all the time in relation to bats, which are known carriers of the disease. The incidence of actual transmission by scratch from animal to human is really quite small, although a person scratched, bitten or exposed to the fluids of an unknown status animal are urged to see a doctor for preventative treatment just in case. In your case, however, you're talking about a fear of second-hand transmission by sharing a cup with someone who was scratched a year ago. If the other person was infected and did not receive treatment, that person would have been too dead for you to drink out of her cup. You can safely forget about it.

The scratch was actually only a week ago. I must not have been clear in my first message. Thanks for the response.

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3 hours ago, aura said:

The scratch was actually only a week ago. I must not have been clear in my first message. Thanks for the response.

I still think you're safe, since it would take about 1-3 months on average, for this person to develop symptoms, if the cat happened to be infected.......The reason for the long incubation period is that the rabies virus travels along the nerves until it reaches the brain (which takes awhile).

If the bitten/scratched person doesn't seek treatment, and the virus reaches the brain, the person will develop symptoms...............The virus is only transmissible through the saliva when the victim develops symptoms.

Edited by CrazyRedhead
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