Potential Rabies Exposures In A Virginia County
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Potential Rabies Exposures In A Virginia County

  • 05/01/1998

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 113(3):258-262
Filetype[PDF-1.17 MB]

  • English

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      Public Health Rep
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      Although records of animal bites and scratches are kept at most local health departments, little is known about the epidemiology and characteristics of these potential rabies exposures on a local level. Bite and scratch records for a four-and-a-half-year period from Montgomery County, Virginia, were examined in order to identify preventable trends. The author retrospectively reviewed animal bite and scratch records from the Montgomery County Health Department dating from January 1992 through July 1996.|Cat bites or scratches involved stray or feral animals more than eight times as often as dog bites or scratches. Cats were involved in the majority of incidents in which rabies postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) was recommended. Overall, PEP was recommended following 5.9% of reported incidents. The records also indicated that 65% of owned cats were unvaccinated at the time of the incident, while only 28% of owned dogs were unvaccinated. Children under the age of 18 were significantly more likely to be involved in a potential exposure than adults. Potential exposures should be analyzed periodically by local health departments. Suggestions for minimizing the number of potential rabies exposures in Montgomery County based on the results of the study reported here include: reducing the stray and feral cat population, targeting educational programs to children, and encouraging owners to vaccinate their pets.
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