iCliniq logo

Ask a Doctor Online Now

HomeAnswersMicrobiologyrabiesCan I get infected with rabies from a dog's saliva on an inanimate object?

What are the chances of contracting rabies from a dog's saliva on an inanimate object?

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 5, 2022
Reviewed AtDecember 12, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I have read on the internet and learned from some doctors that inanimate objects could not transmit the rabies virus. But can it be transmitted through a dog's saliva when it contacts a human hand (intact skin), then to the mobile phone, and then accidentally comes in contact with my baby's eye more than once? Can a dog's saliva spread the infection when it contacts with intact human skin and then to another person's wound or a mucus membrane? Are these possible ways of rabies transmission?

Please give me your suggestions.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern.

Rabies does not spread through inanimate objects. But it spreads through mucus if the person has touched an object containing mucus with the rabies virus in it. Rabies does not spread from intact skin.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

Can the rabies virus remain alive on the mobile phone when it does not interact with the environment?

Please give me your opinion.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The virus becomes inactive and dries once it is in the environment. It does not survive outside the host cell. So it does not spread from a key chain or mobile phone to another person.

I hope this was helpful.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

I heard that it could not spread if the saliva is on any inanimate object that comes in contact with a wound. How far is it true?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

If the saliva is dried and the wound comes in contact, it does not spread. But the saliva is not dried, and if the wound comes in contact with infected saliva, it may spread.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

Can it live longer on human skin (intact) than on any inanimate object? Or does the virus live for the same duration independent of which object the dog's saliva has fallen to?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It will depend on which object the saliva has fallen on.

I hope this was helpful.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Thank you for your reply, doctor.

So, does it live longer on intact human skin than any non-living object?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It lives longer on human skin than non-living objects because of the human body temperature.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Thank you for your reply, doctor.

When I was going on a road, two street dogs were fighting. Some drops of liquid (I do not know whether it was saliva or not) fell on me, and then I touched it and might have touched my eye or nostrils and also my mobile phone. Then after about 10 minutes, I returned home, and the phone might have come in contact with my 3-year-old baby's eye while he was playing with it. My nostrils and eyes also often came in contact with his eye, nostrils, or any of his wounds. Does he require an anti-rabies vaccine for it? Does rabies spread in this way?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The possibility of spreading through this way is nil.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Thank you for your reply, doctor.

There are other incidents about which I am concerned, and they are:

1. I had kept a bottle of water in a bag hung on my bike. A dog smelled and licked the bag. Then I brought the bag home and kept the bottle outside for about 10 minutes. Then my son touched my hand and then touched his eyes accidentally. Is there any need to fear?

2. If I touched that bag which any dog might have recently licked, and then touched my raincoats which were then kept in an airtight basket, then after five minutes touched the raincoat, and then my hand touched my nephew's eye. Can the rabies virus live on the raincoat because it was in an airtight basket? Does such an incident pose any risk?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Rabies infection passes from rabid animals. Rabid dogs are different from street dogs. Not all street dogs will spread the infection. So it does not matter if a dog sniffs a bag or licks it. That does not cause infection. So, no need to worry.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Thank you for your reply, doctor.

The other incident is described here:

While I went out with my son, the garbage on the roadside came in touch with my son's foot. There was a wound on his foot, but the wound was covered with socks. As the dogs search in the garbage, there are chances for their saliva to be present in the garbage. Is there any need for an anti-rabies vaccine? He has taken DPT as per his regular vaccine chart. Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

The infection cannot spread the way you have elaborated.

Kindly revert for more queries.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Thank you for your reply, doctor.

After coming to know from you that rabies virus can live longer on human skin and also it can live on inanimate objects till it dries, is there a way to get rid of this virus as unknowingly we might come across dog's saliva on any object or skin which might touch the eye or mucus membrane of my baby or any other person? Is there any possibility of transmission with this? Are there any cases reported like that?

Kindly help.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

To protect from any virus, wash your hands when you come in contact with unclean areas or pets.

I hope this helps.

Thank you.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

Is there any reported case of any indirect transmission of rabies anywhere till now? I mean to ask if rabies saliva from animals to any object or intact skin and then to any other person has caused infections?

Is such a type of transmission practical or only theoretical?

Please answer.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

No such case has been recorded.

I hope this was helpful.

Thanks and regards.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

It is known that the rabies virus in a dog's saliva is dead and noninfectious when the saliva is dried outside in the environment. But can the rabies virus in a dog's saliva remain alive and infect after three days in water or water drops in the bathroom, washroom, or toilet?

Please give me your suggestions.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to iclioniq.com.

No, it is not infectious. It needs a specific body temperature to keep the virus alive.

I hope this clears your doubt.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply.

I meant to say two days instead of three days. Is it still infectious or non-infectious? Will it be alive for two days?

Kindly answer.

Answered by Dr. Lakshmi Priya

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

It is only viable for one to two hours outside the host body.

I hope this was helpful.

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