Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Possible Rabies?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 0 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • September 26, 2009
  • 08:13 PM

Hi there,

My partner and I are travelling through South America. We are in Santiago, Chile at the moment. My partner was sick with what we thought was a stomach bug a few days ago. He was vomiting and had diarrhoea. He also had a fever and mild headaches. One night he had to sit in a chair overnight because he could not sleep due to severe aches in his shoulder joints, more so on the right side than the left. In the morning he told me and after discussing it we remembered that alot of these were symptoms of rabies. When I asked him he told me that he remebered being licked on the hand by a puppy in Argentina about 2-3 weeks ago and he had cuts on his hands (and a puncture wound on a finger on his right hand). He was not very smart to let a dog lick him in a country that has it´s fair share of rabies, but we will deal with that little medical issue (brain malfunction) later. He no longer has any of these symptoms so it is possible that they were just related to a stomach bug, but nevertheless a possible exposure to rabies should be treated with urgency due to the deadliness of the disease. It must be noted that the dog did not show visible signs of having rabies but this does not mean it wasn´t carrying it. We read up a lot about rabies and some books said if there is a chance that you were bitten or even just licked by a rabid animal then definitely seek medical attention (and my assumption was that this meant to have further rabies vaccination shots to give you full coverage). He was vaccinated against rabies back home (including immunoglobin HMIG), but to be fully covered you need extra shots of the vaccine after being exposed to the virus. We went to a doctor here in Chile who said that he should be alright because the symptoms would have shown themselves by now (assuming that the symptoms he did experience were unrelated as they always get worse and never better with rabies I understand). That however is not necessarily the case so I have read... apparently it can take months and even years for the first symptoms to appear. And we don´t want any symptoms to appear because all but approx 6 people have died from the disease if they have showed any symptoms of the disease. I have read that you should not listen to a doctor who tells you not to worry about it if you think that you may have been exposed, but at the same time we don´t know that he was definitely exposed, and the only way to be sure is to wait and see if symptoms appear, but obviously that is too late. So I guess I know that the obvious answer is to just get the injections done if we are unsure because it´s not worth taking the risk with your life, but I guess I was hoping to hear from someone who might be able to shed more light on what the actual risk is considering the above circumstances and perhaps there is some way to test for rabies, or perhaps the pre-exposure vaccinations combined with the fact that he is relatively young, and very fit and healthy in general are enough reason to assume that he will be ok? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, particularly from someone who has some experience with, or has studied this disease. Thank you so much :)

KAL

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