UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Infectious Disease

Title: Rabies Update: News from the CDC

Keywords: rabies, vaccination, animal bite, racoon, bat (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/5/2010 by Ellen Lemkin, MD, PharmD
Click here to contact Ellen Lemkin, MD, PharmD

The number of rabies vaccines recommended by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) has been reduced from 5 to 4 doses for unvaccinated patients.

This was based on evidence from multiple source, including pathogenesis data, animal trials, clinical studies, and epidemiological surveillance. The first dose of the 4-dose regimen should be administered as soon as possible after exposure (day 0). Additional doses are then given on day 3, 7, and 14. The first dose of rabies vaccine should be administered with HRIG, infiltrating as much as possible into the wound, with the remainder given IM at a distant site from the vaccine.

This recommendation is not applicable to immunocompromised patients, who should continue to receive the full five doses.


Sullivan, DM. Update on Emerging Infections: News from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infectious disease/CDC Update. Ann Em Med July 2010;56(1):64-6.