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Dr. Marie
Dr. Marie, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3938
Experience:  10 years of experience as a veterinarian for dogs, cats and pocket pets.
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Can a human contract rabies by ingestion of saliva of a rabid

Customer Question

Can a human contract rabies by ingestion of saliva of a rabid animal
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Marie replied 7 years ago.
Hi there and thanks for your question.

The rabies virus lives amongst the saliva of an infected animal. So, yes if the saliva was ingested a person could get rabies.

I hope this information helps! If you have more questions regarding this problem, just hit reply. If I am online I will respond right away. Otherwise I will respond as soon as I come online again. Or, if my answer is sufficient, then please hit accept. Thanks!
Dr. Marie.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hi!

 

Thanks! Well, I guess then here is my real question. I work at a school and there was a dog on campus. I went over to it to see if it had tags, which it did, and make sure it was friendly so the kids would be safe. The dog was very docile, but I have read online that dogs with rabies can become very friendly if that was not their usual nature. So, long story short, I was checking the tag and then it trotted off. I tried to get it back to call its owner, but it did not come. About 10-15 minutes later, I went back inside and ate something without washing my hands. If for some reason the dog was rabid and it licked my hand, would it be able to transfer the rabies from its saliva to my hand as I ate something?

Expert:  Dr. Marie replied 7 years ago.
Ah, I see.

The rabies virus is actually very fragile outside of its host. So, *if* the dog had rabies (which is extremely unlikely) and *if* you directly swallowed fresh saliva there would be a small chance of getting rabies. However, if the saliva had dried then the virus would have a very poor chance of surviving.

I just did some research for you and there is no reported case of a person ever getting rabies from a dog lick.

You will be just fine!
I hope this information helps! If you have more questions regarding this problem, just hit reply. If I am online I will respond right away. Otherwise I will respond as soon as I come online again. Or, if my answer is sufficient, then please hit accept. Thanks!
Dr. Marie.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would highly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.



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