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A 19-year-old male asked:

can you catch rabies from a small cat scratch wound?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Randy Baker
Holistic Medicine 40 years experience
Very unlikely but...: Generally rabies is transmitted by bites, as the virus is present in the saliva of the animal. However, it is possible that the cat might have licked its claws before scratching you, so it is possible to catch rabies from a cat scratch, though this would be very rare. A cat scratch is much more likely to transmit cat scratch fever, an infection caused by a bacteria called Bartonella henselae.
Dr. Meital Barzideh
Pediatrics 12 years experience
Highly unlikely: Cats are generally not carrieres of rabies. If you have a kitten (under 1 year) I would be concerned about "catch scratch disease" If you starts to develop fever and inflamed lymph nodes along the arm that was scratched, I would seek medical attention. Otherwise, just wash the wound with soap and water and you should be fine.
Dr. Tanya Russo
Pediatrics 25 years experience
Rabies transmission: Per the Centers for Disease Control: The most common mode of rabies virus transmission is through the bite and virus-containing saliva of an infected host. Though transmission has been rarely documented via other routes such as contamination of mucous membranes (i.e., eyes, nose, mouth), aerosol transmission, and corneal transplants.

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A 24-year-old male asked:

Should I get vaccinated for rabies cuz I was bitten by my cat but she's already vaccinated for rabies and the wound is just small.

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Doubt it: Rabies is uncommon in domesticated pets and certainly those with up to date rabies vaccination. The mouth of cats often do contain some invasive germs so good wound care and sometimes antibiotic treatment are required when bitten. Local health departments are often the best source of information since they monitor the rabies activity by county & stock the vaccine for when it is needed.

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Last updated Jan 19, 2020

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