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Can a cat bite lead to rabies?

Q: I am 25 years old and was bitten by a street cat some 5 years ago. I don’t know what was the status of that cat. Now a days, I am worried I may get rabies. Is there any chance I may get rabies after 5 long years? I don’t have any symptoms. What shall I do to get out of this psychological disturbance?

A:The incubation period is the time from exposure to onset of clinical signs of disease. The incubation period in rabies may vary from a few days to several years, but is typically 1 to 3 months. There are only one or two cases reported in literature worldwide, in which rabies developed after a gap of >5 years. From a practical standpoint, your chances of developing rabies are nil. To stop worrying unnecessarily, a visit to a psychiatrist or a mental health counsellor may be useful.

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