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Possible Rabies Exposures in Peace Corps Volunteers, 2011

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  • Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Office of Medical Services, Peace Corps, Washington, District of Columbia; Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Office of Informatics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

We surveyed Peace Corps Medical Officers (PCMOs) to determine the frequency of and responses to possible rabies exposures of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers (PCVs). Surveys were sent to 56 PCMOs serving in countries with moderate or high rabies vaccine recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of which 38 (68%) responded. Thirty-seven PCMOs reported that, of 4,982 PCVs, 140 (3%) experienced possible rabies exposures. Of these, 125 (89%) had previously received rabies vaccination, 129 (92%) presented with adequately cleansed wounds, and 106 (76%) were deemed to require and were given post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Of 35 respondents, 30 (86%) reported that rabies vaccine was always accessible to PCVs in their country within 24 hours. Overall, the Peace Corps is successful at preventing and treating possible rabies exposures. However, this study identified a few gaps in policy implementation. The Peace Corps should continue and strengthen efforts to provide education, preexposure vaccination, and PEP to PCVs.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Kira Harvey, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, MS E-03, Atlanta, GA 30333. E-mail: jii3@cdc.gov

Authors' addresses: Kira Harvey, Emily S. Jentes, Katherine J. Johnson, Mark J. Sotir, and Gary W. Brunette, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: jii3@cdc.gov, ejentes@cdc.gov, kate.j.johnson@gmail.com, mps6@cdc.gov, and fvd3@cdc.gov. Myrna Charles, Chief, Epidemiology and Surveillance, Office of Medical Services, Peace Corps Headquarters, Washington, DC, E-mail: myrna.charles@redcross.org. Brett Petersen and Jesse D. Blanton, Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: Ige3@cdc.gov and Asi5@cdc.gov. Mark J. Lamias, Office of the Director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: Bnz6@cdc.gov.

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