Rabies vaccine may be one of those things you don’t really think about, until you need it. There are two manufacturers of rabies vaccines in the US, and either can be used to prevent rabies, either before (pre-exposure) or after (post-exposure) a bite from an infected animal. Unless you are a veterinarian or have some other type of close contact with animals, you don’t need the pre-exposure vaccines.
Post-exposure vaccine is given whenever a person gets bitten or exposed to a animal potentially infected with rabies. This can sometimes be a tough call, because rabies is not very common in Central Ohio, but there still is some risk. In some cases, post-exposure rabies vaccine is recommended and administered to students here at Student Health Services.
During this vaccine shortage, we will limiting our use of rabies vaccine to post-exposure situations only. That means that some other students will be asked to wait a few weeks or more, but we do this for the good of the whole community, and to try to be sure that we have the vaccine when YOU really need it.
In the meantime:
- if you are in a situation where a possible exposure has occured, ask your doctor to consult with local/state public health departments to ensure appropriate use of vaccine.
- avoid wildlife contact
- vaccinate pets/livestock
- if possible, capture/observe/test exposing animal.
For more information, check out this CDC website – Rabies Vaccine: Current Situation, Posted: September 7, 2012, Updated: September 11, 2012
Be careful out there!
Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health)