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Old 12-04-2008
ACOBGR08 ACOBGR08 is offline
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Exclamation Pre Exposure Vax

How many here have had the pre-exposure rabies vac? I havent had it and no one has even mentioned it at my work. should i be concerned? is it something normally provided by the employer or is it up to me to get?
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Old 12-04-2008
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i've had it. no reactions... and I'd mention it to your supervisor... you SHOULD get one... Just in case, find out if your insurance company covers the Vax
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Last edited by kgill; 02-10-2011 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 12-04-2008
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Until a few years ago I got mine every 3 years since I started doing this in 1987. At the recommendation of the state I started getting my titer checked instead, and I am always 5X – 6X the vaccinated level, so I haven’t had one in a while.

The city has always paid for mine, and while I have known people who reported having a minor reaction, I never have. We only had 6 rabid animals in my entire county last year, but about 20 years ago I collected a bat that turned out to be rabid, so you never know.
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Old 12-04-2008
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Yes, you should definitely get one, since you are in the single most likely occupation in your jurisdiction to handle a live rabid animal. They are harder to get here lately because of a vaccine shortage, but you should be at the top of the waiting list (after those already exposed, of course).

Yes, bring it up to your boss. Depending on your agency, you may get stonewalled; do not give up. Be politely insistent. This is a bona fide job hazard, right up there with them providing you with auto insurance and worker's comp.

In California, our single most likely source of rabies is handling a sick bat. Therefore, if you respond to those calls, be completely clear beforehand about the correct handling procedure for a live bat -- hopefully your agency has already trained you at this point. If not, or in addition, the most humane is probably (1) WEAR GOOD GLOVES (2) net it with a butterfly net as quickly and quietly as possible (3) drop the netted animal into a SECURE container that allows air-flow and has toweling on the bottom. (Leave the net over it if possible/necessary; for example, you can drop a washcloth into a large coffee can, drop the netted animal into the can, and pop the plastic lid (cut air holes) on top, and then make the net more secure on the can with a heavy rubber band.) If wildlife rehab is an option (e.g., the bat is injured rather than sick and has NO POSSIBLE contact with humans) your agency will tell you so. Humane euthanasia and rabies testing is the option for all others. Again, know what is correct and humane handling procedure for this, since this is your most likely time to be exposed to the virus if you're going to be.

I'm in San Diego, myself ... PM me if I can help at all.

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Last edited by stmelangell; 12-04-2008 at 04:17 PM. Reason: typos, and added info, cause I'm feeling talkative and there's no one to talk to. Sorry!
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Old 12-04-2008
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I had the series 24 years ago and have never had a booster. I get my titer checked every 3-5 years and have always been 5-6 times the required level. If you will be handling animals, wild and domestic, you should protect yourself.
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Old 12-04-2008
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I got mine when I was in college. There was a doctor in the city that was doing them half off. It was still $300 Canadian, 6 hundred full price. But this was a few years ago, so probably more now?

I found that after getting each vaccine (3 shots) I was very tired and even got a fever. I slept the majority of the day.

Since you are in this field, it is better that you get them. You will have alot of travel companions more so then not in your truck. will be..skunks, raccoons, bats, foxes, coyotes..all rabie sector animals.

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Old 12-04-2008
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I had my first series about 15 years ago as a pre-exposure. I had a minor reaction which included swelling of the arm for a few days post vaccination. I was exposed to a rabid cat in April 2008. I had my titer checked in August 2007 and I was way above normal. My doctor still had me get the post-exposure vaccines; this time, I had a full blown reaction which included asthma like symptoms for about 2 months.

Since we are involved in such a dangerous field of dealing with rabid animals, my doctor and I agreed that it was better that I took the risk of having a vaccine reaction than to die of rabies. Although I was sick for awhile, I would have made the same decision again. I have seen videos while I was in school of people dying of rabies; they were not pretty sites.

Get the vaccine as soon as possible. The younger ACO that was with me at the time the rabid cat was brought in was provided with the rabies vaccine by his Township when they realized that I had been exposed to that cat. He was just a little sore after the vaccines.
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Old 12-05-2008
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Originally Posted by kgill View Post
mention it to your supervisor... you SHOULD get one... Just in case, find out if your insurance company covers the Vax
I know a vet tech at the shelter who described her job to her Dr. The Dr. then convinced her insurance company to pay for the vaccine. I wish I had the verbage he used.
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Old 12-04-2008
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Get the vaccination, most agencies pay for it. Prevention is much cheaper than treatment. (Vaccination here is approx $500.00, post exposure treatment approx $3500.00)

I got my vaccination 9 years ago, I have my titers checked every year. So far I have not needed a booster.
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Old 12-04-2008
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I just got vaccinated my third shot this last Monday. I had no reactions, not even a sore arm. According to my doctor, reactions are very rare. The cost was $225 per shot. I definitely would recommend getting the vaccine, even if you have to pay for it yourself. It's completely worth the peace of mind working in this field.
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