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  • Author or Editor: Danae Bixler x
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Objective—To assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding rabies preexposure prophylaxis among veterinary facility owners in West Virginia and to compare facilities in counties where raccoon rabies virus variant (RRVV) is or is not enzootic.

Design—Cross-sectional telephone survey.

Sample—124 owners of facilities licensed by the West Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Procedures—In 2011, an owner of each licensed facility in West Virginia was contacted by telephone to complete a questionnaire regarding practice demographics, knowledge of rabies epidemiology, and preexposure prophylaxis policies. Data from facilities in counties where RRVV is enzootic were compared with data from facilities in counties where RRVV is not enzootic. Prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to quantify the strength of associations.

Results—Owners of 124 of the 162 (77%) veterinary facilities participated in the survey. West Virginia veterinarians were knowledgeable of rabies epidemiology in the state. Respondents agreed that veterinarians (122/124 [98%]) and technicians and assistants (111/124 [90%]) should receive preexposure prophylaxis. Fifty-six (45%) respondents required that veterinarians receive preexposure prophylaxis, whereas 19 (15%) respondents required that technicians and assistants receive preexposure prophylaxis. A preexposure prophylaxis policy was in effect at 20 of 64 (31%) facilities in counties where RRVV is enzootic and 6 of 60 (10%) facilities in counties where RRVV is not enzootic. Concerns related to cost of preexposure prophylaxis were reported.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Except for veterinarians, veterinary staff in West Virginia did not commonly receive preexposure prophylaxis or regular assessments of serum rabies virus neutralizing antibody titers. All veterinary practices are encouraged to consider revising or implementing a preexposure prophylaxis policy based on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendations. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;243:63–67)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association