PHILADELPHIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY ON RABID CATS IN PHILADELPHIA
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has just released a Health Advisory regarding the increased identification of rabid cats in Philadelphia.
If you have any questions or problems, please contact the Philadelphia Health Communications Specialist at
Increased Identification of Rabid Cats in Philadelphia:
Reminders for Animal Exposure Reporting and Administration of Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
July 28, 2017
- PDPH has identified a recent increase in feral and stray cats infected with rabies.
- Providers should report bite and non-bite animal exposures to PDPH.
- Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis should be administered after an animal exposure when:
- The animal’s location is unknown/uncertain.
- The animal tests positive for rabies.
- For dogs, cats or ferrets NOT observed for 10 days or NOT rabies tested.
Within the past month, 3 cats (all feral or stray) from Philadelphia have tested positive for rabies, which represents a marked increase. Typically, no more than 2 cats from Philadelphia test positive for rabies annually. Although rabies infection in humans is fatal, timely receipt of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) and rabies vaccine following exposure to an infected mammal’s saliva is extremely effective in preventing illness and fatalities in humans. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) encourages area providers to report animal exposures (bites and non-bites) and can provide services that aid the clinical decision whether to administer rabies PEP to the human victim. Advise patients not to approach, pet, or capture stray or wild animals and to vaccinate their pets against rabies.
Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
For patients with animal exposures (bites and non-bites), rabies post-exposure prophylaxis should be administered as soon as possible after the exposure when:
- The animal’s location is unknown/uncertain;
- The animal tests positive for rabies; OR
- For dogs, cats, and ferrets, the animal does not survive the 10-day quarantine and is not tested.
- Rabies PEP may also be initiated for wild animal exposures when testing cannot be performed within 48 hours of exposure and discontinued if the animal tests negative for rabies.
Previously unvaccinated, healthy patients will need RIG (dosage based on body weight) and 4 doses of rabies vaccine. RIG and dose 1 of the rabies vaccine should be given at the first visit with doses 2, 3, and 4 of the rabies vaccine given 3, 7, and 14 days after dose 1, respectively. Immunocompromised patients should receive a 5th dose on day 28. Patients with a history of pre-exposure vaccination only need two doses of rabies vaccine on day 0 and day 3. For additional information, visit: https://hip.phila.gov/DiseaseControlGuidance/AnimalBites
. Contact PDPH at 215-685-6742
for questions related to Rabies PEP administration.