Slate’s Law Blog

When Should You Get a Rabies Vaccine After an Encounter With an Animal?

Healthcare is so expensive that most of us avoid going to the doctor until our symptoms become unbearable or even terrifying. Doctors often tell you that your illness would have been much easier to treat if you had received a diagnosis sooner. In fact, survival rates for some types of cancer have increased dramatically over the past few decades, not only because of more effective treatments but because doctors screen for them at routine visits, leading to early detection in a greater number of cases.  

More than with perhaps any other disease, taking action promptly after exposure to rabies is the difference between life and death. Once symptoms appear, the chances of survival are very low; only 14 people in history have recovered from rabies after beginning to show symptoms.  Symptomatic rabies infection is almost entirely preventable, though. The rabies vaccine for humans takes the form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a series of injections given after the person has been in contact with a rabies-infected animal. Because rabies is so deadly and because the PEP vaccine is so effective at preventing infection, you cannot afford to let cost or indecision delay your treatment. If you have been bitten or scratched by a wild animal or by a domestic animal of unknown rabies status, first get a rabies shot and then contact a Santa Fe slip-and-fall and premises liability lawyer.

How is Rabies Transmitted in New Mexico?

Rabies is caused by a virus and is transmitted when an infected animal’s blood or saliva comes into contact with the victim’s blood or mucous membranes. Therefore, you can get rabies if an infected animal bites or scratches you. New Mexico law requires pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies shortly after the birth or adoption of the animal. Therefore, the chances of getting rabies from a domestic dog are very low.

In New Mexico and elsewhere in the United States, most cases of humans rabies exposure are through contact with bats. Bats are abundant in New Mexico, and while they are not normally aggressive to humans, rabid bats are more likely to bite than uninfected ones, especially if the human approaches the bat and it is too sick to fly away.

Caves are a natural habitat for bats, and New Mexico has many caves. A New Mexico law, SB 77, encourages cave exploration by releasing property owners from premises liability when people get injured while exploring caves on private property. If a bat bites you while you are exploring a cave on private property or where you do not know whether the land is private or public, you should get a rabies shot immediately and then contact a personal lawyer about your options for paying for your medical bills.

Contact Slate Stern About Cave Accident Lawsuits

Slate Stern is a personal injury lawyer who represents plaintiffs injured in animal attacks that might involve exposure to rabies. Contact Slate Stern in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or call (505)814-1517 to discuss your case.


Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash