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Can I take the anti-rabies injection even if I was bitten 15 years back?

Q: I was bit by a stray dog around 15 years ago. I was wondering about the effect of Rabies. I do not remember whether or not I have taken any Anti-Rabies injection. There is a scar on my hand. I am quite worried and mentally disturbed. Should I take an anti-rabies injection or not? In case I do, will it affect my health in any way or can I live without taking the anti-rabies injection?

A:It takes some time (the incubation period ) before a person exposed to rabies develops symptoms. The incubation period for rabies can vary. It can be anywhere from a week to over a year. An incubation period as long as 19 years has been reported. However, it usually lasts about one to three months. The incubation period varies, depending on the amount of virus introduced into the body and the distance the virus has to travel from the site of exposure to the central nervous system (CNS). The closer the bite is to the CNS, the shorter the incubation period. Bites to the head and neck are usually associated with an incubation period of less than one month. In your case, the chances of developing rabies would be less than one in a billion. There is no role of the vaccine now.

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