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Evaluation of a postexposure rabies prophylaxis protocol for domestic animals in Texas: 2000–2009

Pamela J. WilsonTexas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control Branch, MC 1956, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714.

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Ernest H. OertliTexas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control Branch, MC 1956, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714.

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Patrick R. HuntTexas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control Branch, MC 1956, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) in domestic animals, as mandated in Texas, has continued to be effective and to evaluate preexposure or postexposure vaccination failures from 2000 through 2009.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—1,014 unvaccinated domestic animals (769 dogs, 126 cats, 72 horses, 39 cattle, 3 sheep, 4 goats, and 1 llama) that received PEP and 12 vaccinated domestic animals (7 dogs and 5 cats) with possible failure of protection.

Procedures—Zoonotic incident reports from 2000 through 2009 were reviewed for information regarding unvaccinated domestic animals that received PEP in accordance with the state protocol after exposure to a laboratory-confirmed rabid animal; reports also were reviewed for any preexposure or postexposure vaccination failures. The state-required PEP protocol was as follows: immediately vaccinate the animal against rabies, isolate the animal for 90 days, and administer booster vaccinations during the third and eighth weeks of the isolation period.

Results—From 2000 through 2009, 1,014 animals received PEP; no failures were recorded. One preexposure vaccination failure was recorded.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The Texas PEP protocol was used during the 10-year period. Results indicated that an effective PEP protocol for unvaccinated domestic animals exposed to rabies was immediate vaccination against rabies, a strict isolation period of 90 days, and administration of booster vaccinations during the third and eighth weeks of the isolation period.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) in domestic animals, as mandated in Texas, has continued to be effective and to evaluate preexposure or postexposure vaccination failures from 2000 through 2009.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—1,014 unvaccinated domestic animals (769 dogs, 126 cats, 72 horses, 39 cattle, 3 sheep, 4 goats, and 1 llama) that received PEP and 12 vaccinated domestic animals (7 dogs and 5 cats) with possible failure of protection.

Procedures—Zoonotic incident reports from 2000 through 2009 were reviewed for information regarding unvaccinated domestic animals that received PEP in accordance with the state protocol after exposure to a laboratory-confirmed rabid animal; reports also were reviewed for any preexposure or postexposure vaccination failures. The state-required PEP protocol was as follows: immediately vaccinate the animal against rabies, isolate the animal for 90 days, and administer booster vaccinations during the third and eighth weeks of the isolation period.

Results—From 2000 through 2009, 1,014 animals received PEP; no failures were recorded. One preexposure vaccination failure was recorded.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The Texas PEP protocol was used during the 10-year period. Results indicated that an effective PEP protocol for unvaccinated domestic animals exposed to rabies was immediate vaccination against rabies, a strict isolation period of 90 days, and administration of booster vaccinations during the third and eighth weeks of the isolation period.

Contributor Notes

The authors thank Drs. Keith Clark, Kristy Bradley, Laura Robinson, Leon Russell, and James Alexander for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Ms. Wilson (Pam.Wilson@dshs.state.tx.us).