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How do you contract the rabies virus?

Page last updated 27 March 2020

Rabies is spread by the bite or scratch of an animal, domestic or wild, e.g. dog, fox, monkey or bat.  Although people theoretically could spread the virus to one another via a bite, this has never been accurately reported.

Children are particularly at risk, because they are more likely to want to play with animals, and these animals may be infected with the disease. Because of their height, children are more vulnerable to high-risk bites to the face, head and neck. 



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Sources & Citations

1.    NSW Government, Department of Health, Rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus infection fact sheet. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).
3.    Australian Government, Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Rabies and other lyssaviruses. Available at: (accessed 10 March 2020).
4.    World Health Organisation. Rabies. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).
5.    World Health Organisation. Frequently asked questions about rabies for the General Public. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).

SPANZ.RABIE.18.04.0156(1)a - Date of preparation March 2020