Animal bites and rabies exposure in Australian travellers

Mills, Deborah J., Lau, Colleen L. and Weinstein, Philip (2011) Animal bites and rabies exposure in Australian travellers. Medical Journal of Australia, 195 11: 673-675. doi:10.5694/mja10.11413

Author Mills, Deborah J.
Lau, Colleen L.
Weinstein, Philip
Title Animal bites and rabies exposure in Australian travellers
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 2011-12-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5694/mja10.11413
Volume 195
Issue 11
Start page 673
End page 675
Total pages 3
Place of publication Strawberry Hills, NSW, Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing Company
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
To examine the circumstances of animal exposure in a case series of Australian travellers who required rabies post exposure prophylaxis, and to assess the appropriateness of current guidelines for rabies pre-exposure vaccination.

Design, participants and setting:
Prospective case series of 65 returned travellers who presented to four Australian travel medicine clinics between 1 April 2009 and 31 July 2010 for rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.

Main outcome measures:
Demographic characteristics associated with risk of injury; countries where injuries occurred; circumstances of the injuries; and travellers' experiences of obtaining post exposure prophylaxis overseas.

Animal bites and scratches occurred most commonly among travelers aged 20-29 years. Most injuries occurred in Bali, Indonesia (30 [46%]) and Thailand (21 [32%]), and the most common animals responsible for the injuries to the 65 travellers were monkeys (29 travellers [45%]) and dogs (27 [42%]). Thirty-nine of the travellers (60%) initiated contact with the animal. Forty travellers (62%) were able to commence rabies vaccination overseas, but only nine (14%) were able to obtain rabies immunoglobulin overseas.

Most travellers had difficulty obtaining rabies post exposure prophylaxis overseas, resulting in significant delays in appropriate treatment. We recommend that current National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines for at-risk persons be broadened, and that the risk of rabies and the option of pre-exposure vaccination be discussed with all travellers to rabies-endemic areas.
Keyword Postexposure Prophylaxis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Erratum:Medical Journal of Australia (vol 196, Issue 1 January, pg 38, 2012)

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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