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Spelunker in a cave with many bats that may pose a threat for rabies

Do you know your risk for rabies exposure?

Travel to certain international destinations, working with or around animals, and exploring the outdoors can all place you at higher risk for rabies.1

This is especially true for travelers visiting areas where rabies is more prevalent and immediate medical care is more limited, or if you handle animals regularly, such as in a veterinary role, or work in a research lab with the rabies virus. Outdoor adventurers, such as back-country hikers or spelunkers are also more likely to encounter animals with rabies and are at higher risk.1

You can protect yourself by taking common sense precautions, which may include vaccination before you’re exposed to the rabies virus.

Always consult an informed healthcare provider who can help you assess your risk of exposure and recommend any steps to take.

Best way to prevent rabies? Avoid exposure to potentially rabid animals.

All mammals can carry rabies,2 but wildlife accounts for >90% of rabid animals.3,4

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to especially avoid contact with bats, which have caused 62 out of 89 (70%) human rabies cases in the U.S. since 1960.5

Wild animals have a natural fear of humans, so if one approaches you or doesn’t run away, there may be something wrong with that animal. Look for signs of fearfulness, aggression, staggering, paralysis, seizures, or drooling more than normal. Others may act shy or timid, even uncharacteristically tame.2

If you spot an animal like this, stay away and immediately report it to local animal control.

Can everyday activities put you at risk?

While contracting rabies is rare, exposures can occur while doing regular daily activities outside. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, avoid wild animals and teach children to do the same, and report any contact you or others may have with wild animals. And, generally speaking, never handle bats!

Weigh your risks and consider whether getting vaccinated before an exposure is right for you.

Pre-exposure vaccination adds a layer of protection and simplifies treatment if you become exposed.6

Rabies vaccination before a potential exposure primes your immune response so treatment after an exposure can be effective more quickly. Pre-exposure vaccination also reduces the number of vaccinations and reduces treatment should an exposure occur.1

The CDC advises that you consider pre-exposure vaccination if you are in frequent contact with the rabies virus or rabid animals, such as on the job, or if you’re active outdoors and could encounter animals with rabies in the wild.1 Pre-exposure rabies vaccination also makes sense for travelers likely to come in contact with animals in parts of the world where rabies is common and immediate access to appropriate care is limited.6 Talk to your doctor or seek a pre-travel medical consult about your risk and if pre-exposure rabies vaccination is right for you.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preexposure vaccinations. Accessed April 19, 2021.
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association. Rabies and your pet. Accessed April 14, 2021.
  3. Blanton JD, et al. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012;241(6):712-722. doi:10.2460/javma.241.6.712
  4. Ma X, et al. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2020;256(2):195-208. doi:10.2460/javma.256.2.195
  5. Pieracci EG, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(23):524-528. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6823e1
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies. Accessed April 14, 2021.

Important Safety Information

  • People with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to RabAvert or any of its ingredients should not receive RabAvert…


RabAvert is a vaccine approved for all age groups to help prevent rabies infection both before and after a suspected exposure.

…for protection before a potential exposure (PrEP) to the rabies virus. They should receive a different rabies vaccine if a suitable product is available. However, because rabies is almost always fatal if left untreated, the protection provided with RabAvert after a potential exposure (PEP) to the rabies virus outweighs the risks associated with a severe allergic reaction.

  • The ingredients of RabAvert, which could in rare cases, cause allergic reactions in some people, include egg and chicken proteins, processed bovine (cow) gelatin and trace amounts of neomycin, chlortetracycline, and amphotericin B. Let your healthcare professional know if you have had any issues, including allergic reactions, with any of these ingredients or with vaccines in general.
  • Severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, swelling of the brain and spinal cord; loss of movement or sensation due to nerve damage, such as inflammation of the brain or temporary loss of movement; Guillain-Barré Syndrome; inflammation of spinal cord; inflamed nerves of the eye; and multiple sclerosis have in very rare cases been reported.
  • RabAvert should be injected into muscle only. RabAvert injected into a vein may cause a reaction throughout the body, including shock.
  • Fainting can occur when injectable vaccines are used, including RabAvert. Your healthcare provider should put procedures in place to avoid falling injury and to restore blood flow to the brain after fainting.
  • Patients with a weakened immune system due to illness or the use of certain medications or treatments (such as radiation therapy, antimalarials, and corticosteroids) may have issues developing immunity. If such a patient is receiving RabAvert, then the healthcare professional may measure immune response through blood testing. Vaccination with RabAvert for protection before a potential exposure (PrEP) to the rabies virus should be delayed in anyone who is sick or recovering from an illness.
  • RabAvert contains albumin which is a protein found in human blood that carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), a rare brain disorder. No cases of transmission of viral diseases or CJD have ever been identified for albumin.
  • Persons who have not been previously vaccinated against rabies will receive Human Rabies Immune Globulin (HRIG). HRIG should not be administered to persons who have been previously vaccinated as it may counteract the effect of the rabies vaccine. Let your healthcare provider know if you were previously vaccinated for rabies as you may not need HRIG.
  • Only use RabAvert while pregnant or breastfeeding if clearly needed. RabAvert was not studied in pregnant or lactating women so it is not known if RabAvert can cause any harm to the fetus, have any effect on ability to get pregnant, or whether it is passed through breast milk to infants (but many drugs are excreted in human milk).
  • There is no information on how RabAvert works when given at the same time as other vaccines.  
  • The most common side effects in clinical trials were reactions at the injection site, such as reddening, hardening, and pain; flu-like symptoms, such as lack of energy, tiredness, fever, headache, muscle pain, and feeling of discomfort; joint pain; dizziness; swelling of lymph nodes; upset stomach; and rash.
  • Vaccination before a potential exposure (PrEP) to the rabies virus does not remove the need for additional therapy after a suspected or known rabies exposure.
  • Seek the advice of a healthcare professional to help assess your specific level of risk if you are traveling to areas of high risk of rabies exposure; in frequent contact with the rabies virus or rabid animals, such as on the job; and/or are active outdoors and could encounter animals with rabies in the wild.
  • If you are exposed to a potentially rabid animal, seek medical attention right away before you have symptoms. Once symptoms are present, the rabies infection has spread through the body and survival is unlikely.

Uses for RabAvert

RabAvert is a vaccine approved for all age groups to help prevent rabies infection both before and after a suspected exposure. 

Patients should always ask their healthcare professionals for medical advice about the appropriate use of vaccines and adverse events. To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Bavarian Nordic at 1-844-4BAVARIAN or the US Department of Health and Human Services by either
visiting or calling 1-800-822-7967.

Please see full Prescribing Information