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Compendium of Animal Rabies Vaccines, 1984 Prepared by: The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc.

Part I: Recommendations for Immunization Procedures The purpose of these recommendations is to provide information on rabies vaccines to practicing veterinarians, public health officials, and others concerned with rabies control. This document will serve as the basis for animal rabies vaccination programs throughout the United States. Its adoption by cooperating organizations will result in standardization of procedures among jurisdictions, which is necessary for an effective national rabies-control program. These recommendations are reviewed and revised as necessary before the beginning of each calendar year. All animal rabies vaccines licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and marketed in the United States are listed in Part II of the Compendium, and Part III describes the principles of rabies control.

  1. VACCINE ADMINISTRATION The Committee recommends that all animal rabies vaccines be restricted to use by or under the supervision of a veterinarian.

  2. VACCINE SELECTION While recognizing the efficacy of vaccines providing 1-year duration of immunity, the Committee recommends the use of vaccines providing 3-year duration of immunity, because their use constitutes the most effective method of increasing the proportion of immunized dogs and cats in comprehensive rabies-control programs.

  3. ROUTE OF INOCULATION All rabies vaccines must be administered intramuscularly at one site in the thigh.

  4. HIGH-RISK RABIES AREA An area (town, city, or county) where a high incidence of rabies exists among wildlife or domestic species, as determined by state health officials, may be declared a High-Risk Rabies Area. In such areas, the public should be alerted to the risk and urged to make sure their dogs and cats have current rabies vaccinations. State health officials may wish to consider temporarily altering revaccination schedules.

  5. WILDLIFE VACCINATION Vaccination is not recommended, since no rabies vaccine is licensed for use in wild animals and since there is no evidence that animal rabies vaccines produce acceptable levels of immunity in wild animals. The Committee recommends that neither wild nor exotic animals be kept as pets and that wild animals not be cross-bred with domestic dogs or cats.

  6. ACCIDENTAL HUMAN EXPOSURE TO VACCINE Accidental human inoculation may occur during administration of animal rabies vaccines. Exposures to inactivated vaccines constitute no known rabies hazard. No cases of rabies have resulted from needle or other exposure to a licensed, modified live virus vaccines in the United States.

  7. IDENTIFICATION OF VACCINATED DOGS The Committee recommends that all government agencies and veterinarians adopt the standard tag system. This will aid the administration of local, state, national, and international procedures. Dog license tags should not conflict in shape and color with rabies tags. It is recommended that anodized aluminum rabies tags not be less than 0.064 inches in thickness.

    1. Rabies Tags: Calendar Year

    Color Shape

1984 Red Heart

1985 Blue Rosette

1986 Orange Fireplug

1987 Green Bell

2. Rabies Certificate: Government agencies and veterinarians

should use the NASPHV form #50, Rabies Vaccination Certificate, which can be obtained from vaccine manufacturers.

Part III: Principles of Rabies Control These guidelines have been prepared by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) for use by government officials, practicing veterinarians, and others who may become involved in certain aspects of rabies control. The NASPHV plans to annually review and revise these recommendations as necessary. Standardized control procedures are needed to deal effectively with the public health aspects of rabies.


    1. Rabies in Humans: Rabies in humans can be prevented by eliminating exposure to rabid animals and by promptly treating local wounds and immunizing when exposed. Current recommendations of the Public Health Service Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) for pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis are suggested for attending physicians. These recommendations, along with the current status of animal rabies in the region and information concerning the availability of rabies biologics, are available from state health departments.

    2. Domestic Animals: Local governments should initiate and maintain effective programs to remove strays and unwanted animals and ensure vaccination of all dogs and cats. Since cat rabies cases now exceed those annually reported in dogs, immunization of cats must be emphasized. Such procedures in the United States have reduced laboratory-confirmed rabies cases in dogs from 8,000 in 1947 to 153 in 1982. The recommended vaccination procedures and the licensed animal vaccines are specified in Parts I and II of the NASPHV's annually released Compendium.

    3. Rabies in Wildlife: The control of rabies in foxes, skunks, raccoons, and other terrestrial animals is very difficult. Selective reduction of these populations, when indicated, may be useful, but the utility of this procedure depends heavily on the circumstances surrounding each rabies outbreak.


    1. Pre-exposure Vaccination and Management: Animal rabies vaccines, because of species limitations, techniques, and tolerances, should be administered only by or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Within 1 month after vaccination, a peak rabies antibody titer is reached, and the animal can be considered immunized. (See Parts I and II of the Compendium for recommended vaccines and procedures.)

      1. Dogs and Cats: All dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies commencing at 3 months of age and direct supervision of a veterinarian. Within 1 month after vaccination, a peak rabies antibody titer is reached, and the animal can be considered immunized. (See Parts I and II of the Compendium for recommended vaccines and procedures.)

      2. Dogs and Cats: All dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies commencing at 3 months of age and revaccinated in accordance with Part II of this Compendium.

      3. Livestock: It is not economically feasible, nor is it justifiable from a public health standpoint, to vaccinate all livestock against rabies. Veterinary clinicians and owners of valuable animals may consider immunizing certain breeding stock located in areas where wildlife rabies is epizootic.

      4. Other Animals: (1)

    Animals Maintained in Exhibits and in Zoologic Parks: Captive animals not completely excluded from all contact with local vectors of rabies can become infected with rabies. Moreover, such animals may be incubating rabies when captured. Exhibit animals, especially those carnivores and omnivores having contact with the viewing public, should be quarantined for a minimum of 180 days. Since no rabies vaccine is licensed for use in wild animals, vaccination, even with inactivated vaccine, is not recommended. Pre-exposure rabies immunization of animal workers at such facilities is recommended to protect the workers and to reduce the need for euthanasia of valuable animals for rabies testing after they have bitten a handler.

(2) Wild Animals: Because of the existing risk of rabies among wild animals, such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the NASPHV, and the Conference of State and Territorial Epidemiologists strongly recommend the enactment of state laws prohibiting the interstate and intrastate importation, distribution, and relocation of wild animals and wild animals cross-bred to domestic dogs and cats. Further, these same organizations continue to recommend the enactment of laws prohibiting the distribution and/or ownership of wild animals as pets.

2. Stray-Animal Control: Stray animals should be removed from

the community, especially in rabies-epizootic areas. Local health department and animal-control officials can enforce the pick-up of strays more efficiently if owned animals are confined or leashed when not confined. Strays should be impounded for at least 3 days to give owners sufficient time to reclaim animals apprehended as strays. 3. Quarantine:

  1. International: Present USDA regulations (CFR No. 71154) governing the importation of wild and domesticated felines, canines, and other potential rabies vectors are minimal for preventing the introduction of rabid animals

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