Audit of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in England and Wales in 1990 and 2000.

J. Hossain*, N. S. Crowcroft, G. Lea, D. Brown, P. P. Mortimer

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The objectives were to compare rabies post-exposure prophylaxis issued by the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS) in 1990 and in 2000, to evaluate their appropriateness, and to make recommendations for future issue of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in England and Wales. The method was to review all rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin issues by PHLS in 1990 and 2000 with evaluation against Department of Health recommendations. The PHLS issued prophylaxis to 656 people in 1990 and 295 people in 2000. The fall is attributable to control measures in Western Europe leading to a lower risk of exposure in countries in the region. Vaccine was still issued for exposures in countries with a category of 'no risk' (15 individuals) including rabies immunoglobulin in six cases. Immunoglobulin was frequently not issued for exposures in high-risk countries but the reasons were not always evident from the information provided; in many cases treatment had probably been started abroad. Delay before contacting the PHLS fell between 1990 and 2000 (p = 0.003). Dogs continue to be the most common animal exposure reported, and their rabies status is generally unknown. The most frequent site of bite was the leg. Prophylaxis was issued for exposure to some animals which have never been known to transmit rabies. Successful control measures in Europe have reduced the need for rabies prophylaxis in UK residents who travel abroad. More detailed information should be collected in future on aspects such as pre-exposure vaccination and treatment started abroad to facilitate future audit of appropriateness of treatment. A repeat audit should be carried out to evaluate the impact of a death from European Bat Lyssavirus 2 infection in a UK bat handler in November 2002.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-111
    Number of pages7
    JournalCommunicable disease and public health / PHLS
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


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