Protect Yourself and Your Pets Against the Deadly Rabies Virus1

Rabies is a viral disease passed from one species to the next—usually through a bite from a rabid animal. Rabies causes severe swelling of the brain. Any mammal can get it, including you, your dog, or cat. Unless you take immediate steps to get protected, rabies is almost always fatal.2-6

A medical professional discussing treatment for rabies exposure
Close up rendering of the rabies virus

Learn to Avoid One of the World’s Deadliest Infectious Diseases

Rabies Watch is your online source for information about rabies. There is no cure for rabies, but rabies can be prevented. With the right information, you can know what to look for, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you have been exposed to rabies.

What Is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that can be found in the saliva of a rabid animal. The most common way for the disease to move from one mammal to another is through a bite wound. Once saliva gets under the skin, the virus moves to the spinal cord and brain, causing an acute swelling called encephalitis.7,8

After a person (or an animal) starts showing symptoms, the disease is almost always fatal. The best you can do is prevent it from spreading and infecting your body.3

Menacing looking bat in flight

Wild Animals With Rabies in the US

Wild animals pose the biggest risk for transmitting rabies to humans in the US. This is especially true for bats. Every year in the US, an estimated 55,000 people receive treatment to prevent rabies, mostly because they have had a bite or other physical encounter with an animal.2,5,9,10

See how many cases of rabid animals there have been in your state.

Closeup of a human hand with bleeding wounds inflicted by an animal that may have rabies

What Do I Do if I Think I Have Been Exposed to Rabies?

If you’ve had a physical encounter with any of the top rabies carriers in the US—raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat—there are some important things you need to do now.

Learn about the 5 steps to take after you’ve been bitten, scratched, or wounded by a wild or stray animal.

What Is the Treatment for Rabies Exposures?

Okay, you suspect you may have been exposed to rabies. You’ve followed the 5 steps. You got yourself to your local hospital’s emergency room. Here are the 3 things your doctor will do.

On a hiking trial, a father and his children look at a guidebook that references rabies information

Rabies: Myth or Fact?

Rabies has been eradicated in the US

Important Safety Information for HyperRAB® (rabies immune globulin [human])

Indication and Usage
HYPERRAB® (rabies immune globulin [human]) is indicated for postexposure prophylaxis, along with rabies vaccine, for all persons suspected of exposure to rabies.

Limitations of Use
Persons who have been previously immunized with rabies vaccine and have a confirmed adequate rabies antibody titer should receive only vaccine. For unvaccinated persons, the combination of HYPERRAB and vaccine is recommended for both bite and nonbite exposures regardless of the time interval between exposure and initiation of postexposure prophylaxis. Beyond 7 days (after the first vaccine dose), HYPERRAB is not indicated since an antibody response to vaccine is presumed to have occurred.

Important Safety Information

For infiltration and intramuscular use only.

Severe hypersensitivity reactions may occur with HYPERRAB. Patients with a history of prior systemic allergic reactions to human immunoglobulin preparations are at a greater risk of developing severe hypersensitivity and anaphylactic reactions. Have epinephrine available for treatment of acute allergic symptoms, should they occur.

HYPERRAB is made from human blood and may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, eg, viruses, the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) agent, and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent.

The most common adverse reactions in >5% of subjects during clinical trials were injection-site pain, headache, injection-site nodule, abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, nasal congestion, and oropharyngeal pain.

Do not administer repeated doses of HYPERRAB once vaccine treatment has been initiated as this could prevent the full expression of active immunity expected from the rabies vaccine.

Other antibodies in the HYPERRAB preparation may interfere with the response to live vaccines such as measles, mumps, polio, or rubella. Defer immunization with live vaccines for 4 months after HYPERRAB administration.

Please see full Prescribing Information for HYPERRAB.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rabies. Accessed March 31, 2022. September 23, 2021.
  2. Manning SE, Rupprecht CE, Fishbein D, et al. Human rabies prevention—United States, 2008: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2008;57(RR-3):1-28.
  3. Kaur M, Garg R, Singh S, Bhatnagar R. Rabies vaccines: where do we stand, where are we heading? Expert Rev Vaccines. 2015;14(3):369-381.
  4. American Veterinary Medical Association. Rabies and your pet. Accessed March 20, 2022.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC reports increase in human rabies cases linked to bats in the U.S. Accessed January 24, 2022.
  6. Crowcroft NS, Thampi N. The prevention and management of rabies. BMJ. 2015;350:g7827.
  7. Rupprecht CE, Briggs D, Brown CM, et al; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Use of a reduced (4-dose) vaccine schedule for postexposure prophylaxis to prevent human rabies: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2010;59(RR-2):1-9.
  8. Feder H, Petersen B, Robertson K, et al. Rabies: still a uniformly fatal disease? Historical occurrence, epidemiological trends, and paradigm shifts. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2012;14:408–422.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rabies in the U.S. Updated April 6, 2020. Accessed March 13, 2022.
  10. Ma X, Monroe B, Wallace R, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2019. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2021;258(11):1205-1220.
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Human rabies. Updated September 22, 2021. Accessed April 1, 2022.
  12. Gross J. U.S. records 5 rabies deaths in 2021, highest number in a decade. The New York Times. Published January 7, 2022. Accessed March 30, 2022.
  13. Dyer J, Yager P, Orciari L, et al. Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2013. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014;245(10):1111-1123.
  14. World Health Organization (WHO). Rabies. WHO website. Accessed March 12, 2022.
  15. American Humane. Rabies facts & prevention tips. Updated August 25, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2022.
  16. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). How is rabies transmitted? Updated June 11, 2019. Accessed March 21, 2022.