Rabies prophylaxis not always necessary
This summer, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has seen an increase in the number of animals being tested for rabies, all of which have been negative for the virus. In these situations, prophylaxis is unnecessary.
Rabies is rare in Johnson County, Kan.; since 2012, only four animals have tested positive. Johnson County investigators are available to discuss the circumstances surrounding a possible exposure to ensure that treatment is provided only when warranted. Rabies prophylaxis is a medical urgency, not a medical emergency - it can be postponed until test results are available, without risk to the patient.
When a patient arrives at the emergency room following a potential exposure, we suggest providers wait to start prophylaxis until rabies test results are confirmed (test results are available within 1-2 days of submitting a specimen). However, the final decision about the need for prophylaxis rests with the patient and the provider. If prophylaxis is necessary, refer patients to a hospital emergency room. JCDHE does not carry the rabies vaccine in its clinics.
If the animal is unavailable for testing, please call JCDHE at 913-826-1303 for evaluation of the exposure.