iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeAnswersMicrobiologyrabiesI unknowingly touched a dog's saliva that fell on my leg. Is is possible for me to get infected with rabies?

Is it necessary to clean the inner part of my nail to prevent rabies after touching a dog's saliva?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At September 15, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 12, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

A street dog's saliva fell on my leg. I unknowingly touched my leg, and after some time, I washed my hands with normal water. But I did not wash the inner part of my nails. My doubts are:

(1) Can rabies virus survive in the inner part of my nail (because the inner part of the nail may not be open to the air or environment), and can this infect my 3-year-old nephew if my hand or nail touches his eye or inner part of his nose or any of his wound repeatedly while playing with him?

(2) Is it necessary to wash the inner part of my nail to prevent rabies infection, or is it not necessary?

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

When you have washed your hands, the water would have gone inside the nails also. The rabies virus requires more contact than this. You need not worry if you or your nephew would have got the infection.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Do you mean to say that the infection of my nephew is not possible in this way? If any rabies virus is left in the inner part of the nail, will it live there and infect the way you described?

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, it is not possible, by the way, you described, for the virus to spread.

Revert in case of queries.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

I was afraid because I thought the inner part of the nail was not exposed to the environment, and there might be some rabies virus left. That was the reason for my worry, an expert like you could have only solved it.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The virus will not also enter so easily. So it will not affect. Do not worry.

Revert in case of queries.

Regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

I am asking another question for future incidents, if any. Is there any chance that the rabies virus will remain alive in the inner part of the nail (if not washed) and repeatedly infect when it comes in contact with the eye or nostrils or any wound of a 3-year-old child? If it is not possible, then I will not be worried in the future about such events too. Please help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

When there is any open wound, it worries some. However, you cannot be a carrier of rabies infection otherwise. So you need not worry in future also.

Hope this helps.

Regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Are you saying about an open wound on my hand or on the baby? Do you mean that if the saliva in the inner part of the nail touches a wound on the baby, it is worrisome?

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

Rabies can spread through open wounds in the person who directly touches the saliva.

Hope this answers your query.

Regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Does saliva in the inner part of the nail or nail contact the baby's wound? Is it not a matter of concern? Is there any issue if it is unknowingly done more than once? I mean unknowingly from the inner part of the nail and then to the baby's wound more than once.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to ilciniq.com.

I understand your query.

The route you are mentioning is not possible. So you need not worry. Please clean your hands after going out or having contact with dog saliva, and also keep trimming your nails in case of grown nails.

Revert in case of queries.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

Now so many of my wrong concepts are cleared with your counseling. These conversations clearly show that you are a good person and doctor. I am thankful to you.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear your queries. Stay safe. Use hand hygiene, and do not worry.

Regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thanks for the reply.

In the past consultation, you have explained that it is not possible, but I wish to ask if is it not possible even if it is done repeatedly unknowingly. I mean to ask if I touch my mobile phone after touching a suspected dog's saliva and after about 12 hours, the baby gets his eye contact with the mobile phone repeatedly while playing with it, does it carry any risk of rabies? Can rabies virus live inside keypads or mobile phone switches because there is no open air? I also do not remember for how long I kept the mobile in the open air and for how long I kept it in my pocket and below the pillow on the bed.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

The rabies virus does not stay alive on surfaces away from the host. But make sure to perform hand wash with soap and water. Sanitize the mobile also. It is better to be safe.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thank you.

Is there any fear from the described event? As it was more than five days ago, I could not sanitize it till now. Is there any need to sanitize now to get rid of infection due to that described incident?

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

No need to sanitize now. It would have been dead by now.

Hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

But the mobile was in touch with my baby's eye on that day. Is there any fear of rabies due to that?

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

No need to worry. It does not spread from inanimate objects.

Regards.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Lakshmi Priya
Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Microbiology

Community Banner Mobile
By subscribing, I agree to iCliniq's Terms & Privacy Policy.

Ask your health query to a Wellness Expert online

Microbiology

*guaranteed answer within 4 hours

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. iCliniq privacy policy