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Emergency Medical Minute


Jul 18, 2019

Contributor: Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • The CDC recommends rabies prophylaxis if there was a direct encounter with a possibly rabid animal except...
  • Bats are treated differently since their bites may be very superficial and not seen/felt. All people with possible close encounters with a bat should receive rabies prophylaxis 
  • From 1990-2007 there were 34 rabies cases associated with bats:
    •  6 of these had a reported bat bite
    • 15 there was a reported exposure but no reported bite
    • 11 had no reported bat exposure but DNA testing revealed that the rabies came from a bat 


Pieracci EG, Pearson CM, Wallace RM, Blanton JD, Whitehouse ER, Ma X, Stauffer K, Chipman RB, Olson V. Vital Signs: Trends in Human Rabies Deaths and Exposures - United States, 1938-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Jun 14;68(23):524-528. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6823e1. PubMed PMID: 31194721; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6613553.

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD