Postexposure rabies prophylaxis protocol for domestic animals and epidemiologic characteristics of rabies vaccination failures in Texas: 1995–1999

Pamela J. Wilson Texas Department of Health, Zoonosis Control Division, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756.

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Keith A. Clark Texas Department of Health, Zoonosis Control Division, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756.

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 DVM, PhD

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Abstract

Objective—To determine whether postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) in domestic animals, as mandated by the state of Texas, has continued to be effective and to evaluate PEP and preexposure rabies vaccination failures from 1995 through 1999.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—830 unvaccinated domestic animals (621 dogs, 78 horses, 71 cats, and 60 cattle) that received PEP and 4 animals (3 dogs and 1 horse) that had preexposure rabies vaccination failure.

Procedure—Zoonotic incident case reports from 1995 through 1999 were reviewed for information regarding unvaccinated domestic animals that received PEP according to state protocol after exposure to a rabid animal; reports were also reviewed for information regarding preexposure rabies vaccination failures. The PEP recommendations were to 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. Rabies vaccines used in the PEP protocol were administered via the route prescribed by the USDA.

Results—From 1995 through 1999, 830 animals received PEP; 4 failures were recorded. Additionally, 4 preexposure rabies vaccination failures were recorded.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicate that an effective PEP protocol for unvaccinated domestic animals exposed to rabies includes 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. This PEP schedule has proven to be effective for control of rabies in domestic animals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218: 522–525)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether postexposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) in domestic animals, as mandated by the state of Texas, has continued to be effective and to evaluate PEP and preexposure rabies vaccination failures from 1995 through 1999.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—830 unvaccinated domestic animals (621 dogs, 78 horses, 71 cats, and 60 cattle) that received PEP and 4 animals (3 dogs and 1 horse) that had preexposure rabies vaccination failure.

Procedure—Zoonotic incident case reports from 1995 through 1999 were reviewed for information regarding unvaccinated domestic animals that received PEP according to state protocol after exposure to a rabid animal; reports were also reviewed for information regarding preexposure rabies vaccination failures. The PEP recommendations were to 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. Rabies vaccines used in the PEP protocol were administered via the route prescribed by the USDA.

Results—From 1995 through 1999, 830 animals received PEP; 4 failures were recorded. Additionally, 4 preexposure rabies vaccination failures were recorded.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study indicate that an effective PEP protocol for unvaccinated domestic animals exposed to rabies includes 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. This PEP schedule has proven to be effective for control of rabies in domestic animals. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218: 522–525)

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