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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2012 Jan 15;240(2):163-8. doi: 10.2460/javma.240.2.163.

National surveillance for human and pet contact with oral rabies vaccine baits, 2001-2009.

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  • 1Epidemic Intelligence Service, Epidemiology Program Office, 1600 Clifton Rd, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



To determine the rate and absolute number of human and pet exposures to oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait containing liquid vaccinia rabies glycoprotein recombinant vaccine and to evaluate factors that might affect human contact with bait to modify the program and reduce human exposure to the vaccine.


Retrospective analysis of surveillance data (2001 to 2009).


Reports on human and pet contact with ORV baits in states with ORV surveillance programs.


Data were collected from passive, multistate ORV surveillance systems in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Data collected included the nature of human or pet contact with bait and vaccine, the caller's knowledge of the ORV bait program, local human population density, and other relevant demographic data.


All 18 states participated in the surveillance program for at least 1 year, for a combined 68 years of observation. One thousand four hundred thirty-six calls were reported, representing 3,076 found baits (6.89/100,000 baits dropped); 296 (20%) calls were related to human contact with ruptured bait, and 550 (38%) involved pet contact with the bait. Six adverse events in humans were reported, one of which required hospitalization. Fifty-nine adverse events in pets were noted, all of which were nonserious.


Findings from surveillance activities have been used to improve baiting strategies and minimize human and pet contact with ORV baits. Overall, human and pet contact with ORV baits was infrequent. Surveillance has led to early identification of persons exposed to ORV and rapid intervention.

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