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Current Trends Compendium of Animal Rabies Vaccines, 1986 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 will result in standardization of procedures among jurisdictions, which is necessary for an effective national rabies-control program. These recommen- dations 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, and Part III describes the principles of rabies control.

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

  2. VACCINE SELECTION The use of vaccines with 3-year duration of immunity is recommended, since 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 Unless otherwise specified by the product label or package insert, all vaccines must be administered intramuscularly at one site in the thigh.

  4. WILDLIFE VACCINATION Vaccination is not recommended, since no rabies vaccine is licensed for use in wild animals and since there is no evidence that any vaccine will protect wild animals against rabies. The Committee recommends that neither wild nor exotic animals be kept as pets and that wild animals not be crossbred to domestic dogs or cats. Offspring borne to wild animals crossbred to domestic dogs or cats will be considered as wild animals.

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

  6. IDENTIFICATION OF VACCINATED DOGS The Committee recommends that all 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

      1986 Orange Fireplug 1987 Green Bell 1988 Red Heart 1989 Blue Rosette

    2. Rabies Certificate. All agencies and veterinarians should use form #50 Rabies Vaccination Certificate of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc. (NASPHV), which can be obtained from vaccine manufacturers.

      Part III: Principles of Rabies Control

      These guidelines have been prepared by the 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. 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 Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) for preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis are suggested for consideration by 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 stray 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 should be required. Such procedures in the United States have reduced labora- tory-confirmed rabies cases in dogs from 8,000 in 1947 to 97 in 1984. The recommended vaccination procedures and the licensed animal vaccines are specified in Parts I and II of the NASPHV's annually released Compendium.

    3. 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. (See C: Control Methods in Wild Animals.)


    1. Preexposure 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 veterin- arian. Within 1 month after vaccination, a peak rabies antibody titer is reached, and the animal can be considered immunized. (See Parts I and II 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 revaccinated in accordance with Part II of this Compendium.

      2. Livestock. It is not economically feasible, nor is it justified 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.

      3. Other Animals. (1) Animals Maintained in Exhibits and Zoological 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 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. Preexposure rabies immunization of animal workers at such facilities is recommended to protect the workers and to reduce the need for euthanizing a valuable animal for rabies testing after it has 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 crossbred to domestic dogs and cats. Further, these same organizations continue to recommend the enactment of laws prohibiting the distribution or keeping of wild animals as pets.

    2. Stray-Animal Control. Stray dogs and cats should be removed from the community, especially in rabies-epizootic areas. Local health depart- ment 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 and to determine whether human exposure has occurred.

    3. Quarantine.

      1. International. Present USDA regulations (CFR No. 71154) governing the importation of wild and domestic felines, canines, and other potential rabies vectors are minimal for preventing the intro- duction of rabid animals into the United States. All dogs and cats imported from countries with endemic rabies should be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days before entry into the United States. ** CDC is responsible for these animals imported into the United States. CDC's requirements should be coordinated with interstate shipment requirements. The health authority of the state of destination should be notified within 72 hours of any animal conditionally admitted into its jurisdiction.

        The conditional admission of such animals into the United States must be subject to state and local laws governing rabies. Failures to comply with these requirements should be promptly reported to the director of CDC.

      2. Interstate. Before interstate shipment, dogs and cats should be vaccinated against rabies according to the Compendium's recommen- dations, preferably at least 30 days before shipment. While in shipment, they should be accompanied by a currently valid NASPHV Form #50 Rabies Vaccination Certificate. One copy of the certi- ficate should be mailed to the appropriate Public Health Veterin- arian or State Veterinarian of the state of destination.

      3. Health Certificates. If a certificate is required for dogs and cats in transit, it must not replace the NASPHV rabies vaccin- ation certificate.

    4. Adjunct Procedures. Methods or procedures that enhance rabies control include:

      1. Licensure. Registration of licensure of all dogs and cats may be used as a means of rabies control by controlling the stray-animal population. Frequently, a fee is charged for such licensure, and revenues collected are used to maintain a rabies- or animal- control program. Vaccination is usually recommended as a prere- quisite to licensure.

      2. Canvassing of Area. This includes house-to-house calls by members of the animal-control program to enforce vaccination and licen- sure requirements.

      3. Citations. These are legal summonses issued to owners for viola- tions, including failure to vaccinate or license their animals.

      4. Leash Laws. All communities should adopt leash laws that can be incorporated into their animal-control ordinances.


      1. Dogs and Cats. When bitten by a rabid animal, unvaccinated dogs and cats should be destroyed immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the unvaccinated animal should be placed in strict isolation for 6 months and vaccinated 1 month before being released. Dogs and cats that are currently vaccinated should be revaccinated immediately and observed by the owner for 90 days.

      2. Livestock. All species of livestock are susceptible to rabies infection; cattle appear to be among the most susceptible of all domestic animal species. Livestock known to have been bitten by rabid animals should be destroyed (slaughtered) immediately. If the owner is unwilling to have this done, the animal should be kept under very close observation for 6 months.

        The following ore recommendations to owners of livestock exposed to rabid animals: (1) If slaughtered within 7 days of being bitten, tissues may be

        eaten without risk of infection, providing liberal portions of the exposed area are discarded. Federal meat inspectors will reject for slaughter any animal that has been exposed to rabies within 8 months. (2) No tissues or secretions from a clinically rabid animal

        should be used for human or animal consumption. However, because pasteurization temperatures will inactivate rabies virus, drinking pasteurized milk or eating completely cooked meat does not constitute a rabies exposure.

  9. CONTROL METHODS IN WILD ANIMALS Bats and wild carnivorous mammals, as well as wild animals cross-bred to domestic dogs and cats, that bite people should be killed, and appro- priate tissues should be sent to the laboratory for examination for rabies. A person bitten by a bat or any wild animal should immediately report the incident to a physician who can evaluate the need for anti- rabies treatment (see current ACIP rabies prophylaxis recommendations: Rabies Prevention -- United States, 1984. MMWR 1984;33:393-402, 407-8).

    1. Terrestrial Mammals. Continuous and persistent government-funded programs for trapping or poisoning wildlife as a means of rabies control are not cost-effective in reducing wildlife reservoirs or rabies incidence on a statewide basis. However, limited control in high-contact areas (picnic grounds, camps, suburban areas) may be indicated for the removal of selected, high-risk species of wild animals. The public should be warned not to handle wild animals. The state wildlife agency should be consulted early to manage any elimin- ation programs in coordination with the state health department.

    2. Bats.

      1. Rabid bats have been reported from every state except Hawaii and have caused human rabies infections in the United States. It is neither feasible nor practical, however, to control rabies in bats by areawide bat-population reduction programs.

      2. Bats should be eliminated from houses and surrounding structures to prevent direct association with people. Such structures should then be made bat-proof by seating routes of entrance with screen or other means.

  10. THE NASPHV COMPENDIUM COMMITTEE: Melvin K. Abelseth, DVM, PhD, Chairman; Russell W. Currier, DVM, MPH; John I. Freeman, DVM, MPH; Russell J. Martin, DVM, MPH; Grayson B. Miller, Jr, MD; James M. Shuler, DVM, MPH; R. Keith Sikes, DVM, MPH

CONSULTANTS TO THE COMMITTEE: Leslie P. Williams, Jr, DVM, DrPH, AVMA Council on Public Health & Regulatory Veterinary Medicine; Kenneth L. Crawford, DVM, MPH; David Aa Espeseth, DVM, Veterinary Biologics Staff, APHIS, USDA; Howard Koonse, Representative, Veterinary Biological Section Animal Health Institute; Suzanne Jenkins, VMD, MPH, CDC, PHS, HHS

ENDORSED BY Conference of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine

** In regard to cats, these recommendations do not conform to the official recommendations of CDC and the U.S. Public Health Service. Although domestic feline rabies has increased, there has been no evidence of increased risk of imported rabies in cats. U.S. Foreign Quarantine Regulations do not require rabies vaccinations for imported cats.

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