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Evaluation of Online Risk Assessment To Identify Rabies Exposures Among Health Care Workers — Utah, 2019
  • Published Date:
    July 24 2020
  • Source:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 69(29):956-959
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-100.11 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
  • Description:
    On November 7, 2018, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) reported the first confirmed human rabies death in the state since 1944 (1). The case occurred in a person who had been treated over a period of 19 days at four health care facilities and an emergency medical transport service across three counties and two states. Human rabies is preventable through preexposure or postexposure vaccination but is invariably fatal upon symptom onset. Timely identification of persons who might have been exposed to rabies virus is therefore crucial to administer postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). Because of the large number of health care workers who had been involved in the patient's care, a standardized online risk assessment survey was developed by UDOH based on Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations (2). This online tool was evaluated for accuracy, acceptability, and administrative obligation by reviewing the results from the tool and conducting focus group discussions and a follow-up survey. Among 90 health care workers initially identified by the online risk assessment as being potentially exposed to infectious material, 74 were classified as exposed. All 74 health care workers received PEP following consultation with occupational health staff members, indicating a positive predictive value of the assessment tool of 82%. In a follow-up survey, 42 (76%) of the 55 respondents reported that they were satisfied with the assessment process. In focus group discussions, participants suggested that the survey could be improved by providing additional information about rabies exposures because many of them were unfamiliar with human-to-human rabies transmission. This evaluation highlighted the importance of adopting clear communication strategies, demonstrated the benefits of using an online risk assessment during a mass rabies exposure, and provided specific feedback for CDC to improve resources available for states and health care facilities after mass rabies exposures.
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