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Rabies vaccine initiation and adherence among animal-bite patients in Haiti, 2015
  • Published Date:
    November 13 2018
  • Source:
    PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 12(11)
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-591.39 KB]

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    Approximately 59,000 people die from rabies worldwide annually. Haiti is one of the last remaining countries in the Western Hemisphere with endemic canine rabies. Canine-mediated rabies deaths are preventable with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP): wound treatment, immunoglobulin, and vaccination. In countries where PEP is available, variability in healthcare seeking behaviors and lack of adherence to recommended treatment guidelines could also contribute to these deaths. Yet, few studies have addressed these issues.


    We examined animal-bite reporting and assessed adherence to treatment guidelines at nine healthcare facilities in Haiti. We analyzed individual-level, de-identified patient data (demographic characteristics, geographic location, healthcare facility type, vaccine administration, and bite injury information) using descriptive analyses and logistic regression to examine factors associated with receiving PEP.


    During the 6 month study period, we found 2.5 times more animal-bite case-patients than reported by the national surveillance system (690 versus 274). Of the 690 animal-bite patients identified, 498 (72%) sought care at six PEP providing facilities. Of the case-patients that sought care, 110 (22%) received at least one rabies vaccine. Of the 110 patients, 60 (55%) received all five doses. Delays were observed for three events: when patients presented to a facility after an animal-bite (3.0 days, range: 0–34 days), when patients received their fourth dose (16.1 days, range: 13–52 days), and when patients received their fifth dose (29 days, range: 26–52). When comparing vaccination status and patient characteristics, we found a significant association for bite location (p < .001), severity rank score (p < .001), geographic location (p < .001), and healthcare facility type (p = .002) with vaccination.


    High levels of underreporting identified here are of concern since vaccine distribution may, in part, be based on the number of animal-bite cases reported. Given that the Haitian government provides PEP to the population for free and we found animal-bite victims are seeking care in a timely manner─ reducing rabies deaths is an achievable goal.

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