Open all pages about Rabies
You can get rabies if you're bitten, scratched or licked by an infected animal, usually a dog. It's found throughout the world, but is rare in the UK.
If you're at risk of getting rabies, you can help reduce your risk by avoiding close contact with animals and having the rabies vaccine.
If you're bitten, scratched or licked by an animal that may have rabies, early treatment with doses of the rabies vaccine can stop you getting rabies.
Symptoms of rabies usually take 3 to 12 weeks to appear. They can include hallucinations, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing.
Rabies is a rare but very serious infection that affects the brain and nerves. It's almost always fatal once symptoms appear.
Page last reviewed: 08/02/2023
Next review due: 08/02/2026