View Full Version : Rabies shots in the stomach -- why?
02-18-2003, 03:40 PM
I realize that rabies shots are, in general, now given in the arm; that the course is much shorter; etc.
I'm curious, though -- why were the shots originally given in the stomach, as they are commonly described? I'm assuming that they were actually going into another part of the abdomen, not the actual stomach -- but that's a guess. Regardless, what was the reason?
02-18-2003, 04:44 PM
Man, this is a hard one. In the absence of anyone who's actually given these shots, I'll share my impression, gleaned from the web, that the shots were actually given in the skin of the abdomen. Nowadays, the shots are given intramuscularly (in the arm). I suspect the old vaccine must have been very reactive, even sort of toxic, so that IV injection might have been fatal (and not much use anyway), and IM injection might have been extremely painful and dangerous. Subdermal injections might have been the only way, and the abdomen is probably the only expanse of skin large enough to contain the dosage necessary.
WAG, all of it.
02-18-2003, 05:26 PM
Nametag -- your guess was good. The original Pasteur rabies vaccine was a series of 21 shots of increasingly stronger doses of killed rabies virus. However, after a week or so, the patient begins reacting to the shots. The stomach becomes sore, red and inflamed and by the end of the regimen it was often hard to find a place where you could put the needle. The abdomen was chosen because of the area involved.
The original vaccine was extremely difficult for the patient, and was only tolerated because there was no other choice: suffer for three weeks, or die.
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