A bite from an unvaccinated dog, cat or another type of animal in Illinois typically requires you to receive anti-rabies prophylaxis, i.e., injectable medications to protect you from contracting the disease. Rabies takes a relatively long time to incubate in the body, but once the infection takes hold, your chances of survival are virtually zero. Therefore, it is important that the protection you receive from the disease be as comprehensive as possible. Human rabies immune globulin is part of the prophylaxis you will most likely receive following an animal attack.

From the name, you might think that human rabies immune globulin is the same thing as a rabies vaccine. In fact, they are separate and work in two different ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the rabies vaccine causes a reaction in which the body starts producing antibodies to fight the disease. This process can take some time. HRIG introduces antibodies ready to fight the disease in the interim.

Unlike the rabies vaccine, only one dose of HRIG is necessary. Injection of HRIG should take place at approximately the same time as the rabies vaccine or within seven days thereafter. However, the administration sites should be different and far away from each other, and the doctor should not use the same syringe to administer both the vaccine and HRIG.

If you have ever received an animal bite in the past that required you to have a rabies vaccination, you do not need to receive an injection of HRIG. However, most people do not receive the rabies vaccine until after an animal attack takes place.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.