What is the treatment for people exposed to rabies?

The treatment for people exposed to rabies involves two medications. One, called rabies immune globulin (or RIG), contains antibodies to fight the virus and is given once. The other medication is the rabies vaccine, which ensures long-lasting protection, and is given as five shots over the course of a month. (Rabies shots are no longer given in the stomach.) People who received the full series of rabies shots in the past need only two rabies vaccine shots. To work best, the medications should begin as soon as possible after the bite or scratch. However, if the animal has been caught and will be tested for rabies, you can wait for the test results to see if the shots are necessary.

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1. What is rabies?
2. How is rabies spread?
3. What kinds of animals spread rabies?
4. How common is animal rabies in Massachusetts?
5. How can you tell if an animal is rabid?
6. What should you do if you think you’ve been exposed to rabies?
7. What is the treatment for people exposed to rabies?
8. How can you prevent rabies?
9. Where can you get more information?