Treatment for animal bite infection is depends on the wound type, its site, and risk factors for infection. All wounds from animal bites are cleaned and sterile as thoroughly as possible. The doctor begins by injecting a local anesthetic in order to examine the wound thoroughly without causing additional pain to the child. Next step is to remove the dead tissue, foreign matter, and blood clots, all of which can become sources of infection. Then the doctor will cut away the edges of the tissue, as clean edges make well faster and are less likely to form scar tissue. The doctor then irrigates, or flushes, the wound with saline solution forced through a syringe under pressure. Bites to the head and face usually receive sutures, as do severe lacerations elsewhere. Puncture wounds are left open. If an abscess forms, the physician may perform an incision in order to drain the abscess. If infection does occur, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic medications. Antibiotics may also be used for infection prevention. Since a single bite wound may contain many different types of bacteria, no single antibiotic is always effective. Generally rabies is caused by a virus; antibiotics are not effective against it. In addition, there is no known cure for the disease as of 2004 once symptoms become apparent. People with a high risk of contracting the disease should receive pre exposure vaccination. Individuals bitten by an unknown or potentially rabid animal should receive post exposure vaccination, also called post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The PEP regimen consists of one dose of vaccine given at the initial visit as well as one dose of human immune globulin. Additional doses of vaccine are given on days three, seven, 14, and 28.
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