Rabies prevention in primary care. A four-step approach

Fishbein, D.B.; Arcangeli, S.

Postgraduate Medicine 82(3): 83-90 93-5


ISSN/ISBN: 0032-5481
PMID: 3628129
Document Number: 300704
Although most physicians in the United States have not seen a person with rabies, the primary care physician is often confronted with a patient who has been bitten by an animal capable of transmitting rabies virus. Rabies is almost always transmitted by a bite; licks and other nonbite exposures hardly ever cause the disease. The control of rabies in domestic animals has greatly reduced the risk of human disease following the bite of a dog or cat, but rabies in wild animals (especially skunks and raccoons) remains a constant threat. By obtaining epidemiologic information about animal rabies in the area where the exposure occurred, the physician can determine whether the animal in question may have been rabid. If any question remains, owned dogs and cats should be observed for ten days and any other animal should be killed and its brain examined for rabies virus. When postexposure prophylaxis is indicated, it should be administered exactly as recommended herein.

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