Rabies control documents changed

The American Veterinary Medical Association – January 1, 2004

The Executive Board has approved changes to various documents pertaining to rabies control.

The AVMA policy on rabies vaccination procedures now recommends that veterinarians follow the recommendations regarding recognized duration of immunity and route of inoculation outlined in the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention and Control that is promulgated by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians. The policy initially referenced the World Health Organization expert Committee on Rabies. Within the United States, however, the NASPHV compendium has become the document used for standardization of recommendations for rabies control and prevention.

The Model Rabies Control Ordinance was also changed to recommend that all parties should retain the rabies certificate for the duration of the vaccination plus one year. Among other guidelines, the ordinance recommends that a licensed veterinarian should examine a healthy dog, cat, or ferret that is vaccinated against rabies and reportedly bites a human. If no signs of illness compatible with rabies are detected, the animal will be quarantined under conditions outlined in an official quarantine order issued by the rabies control authority or a public health official and observed for 10 days from the date of the bite. Or, the animal can be euthanatized in an approved laboratory.

Finally, the Executive Board made changes to the rabies vaccine distribution policy. The policy now reads: “”The American Veterinary Medical Association supports the premise that rabies vaccine should be administered by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian.”” The Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine recommended the change to make application of the policy broader. Besides the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, state veterinarians or other state authorities, including state legislative bodies, can adopt and implement rules and regulations pertaining to the administration of rabies vaccine.


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