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Emergency Medical Minute


Apr 27, 2021

Contributor:  Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • 1-3 cases of rabies per year in US with 55,000 people per year receiving rabies prophylaxis
  • 90% of rabies cases come from wildlife, most commonly by racoons, bats, foxes, and skunks
  • Because of rabies prophylaxis, domesticated pets almost never have rabies in the United States
  • Rabies is typical transmitted via a bite, but direct contact with saliva or brain tissue on an open wound can transmit the virus
  • Some people exposed to rabies from bats will never report a bite


Kessels J, Tarantola A, Salahuddin N, Blumberg L, Knopf L. Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis: A systematic review on abridged vaccination schedules and the effect of changing administration routes during a single course. Vaccine. 2019 Oct 3;37 Suppl 1:A107-A117. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.01.041. Epub 2019 Feb 5. PMID: 30737043.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rabies Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Published June 11, 2019.


Summarized by John Spartz, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD



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