Rabies Pre-exposure Vaccination and Serologic Monitoring Recommendations
For Veterinarians and Direct Animal Care Staff in Massachusetts
Please provide this information sheet to your healthcare provider
Individuals working as veterinarians, veterinary technicians or direct animal care staff in
Massachusetts are classified as being at frequent risk for exposure to rabies. National guidelines
prepared by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and published by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that individuals in this risk category
receive a rabies pre-exposure vaccination series followed by regular serologic monitoring and
booster doses as necessary.
Initial series of three rabies vaccines on Days 0, 7 and 21 or 28.
Check titer every two years
Booster dose of vaccine if titer falls below 1:5 or 0.5 IU/ml by RFFIT†
Two post-exposure doses on Days 0 and 3 if ever exposed to rabies
Administration of HRIG is contraindicated
†Most commercial laboratories offer ELISA tests for rabies serology. The rapid fluorescent
focus inhibition test (RFFIT) is superior as it measures virus neutralizing antibody activity.
According to the published guidelines, “Rabies antibody titer determination tests that are not
approved by FDA are not appropriate for use as a substitute for RFFIT because discrepant results
between such tests and measures of actual virus neutralizing activity by RFFIT may occur.” This
means that someone who has an adequate titer as measured by an ELISA test may not actually be
protected against rabies.
The RFFIT test is routinely available from Kansas State University for a reasonable cost. It may
also be available through other laboratories. In order to facilitate accurate testing, specimen
submission instructions and a specimen submission form are also provided or are available at the
Kansas State University website indicated below.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
CDC. Human Rabies Prevention – United States, 2008. Recommendations of the Advisory
Committee on Immunization practices (ACIP). MMWR 2008;57 (No. RR-3)
Submitting samples to Kansas State University
http://www.vet.k-state.edu/rabies or call their Rabies Lab at (785) 532-4483
Kansas State University
1800 Denison Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66506-5600
About the RFFIT Test
Questions about preventing human rabies in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology and Immunization
www.mass.gov/dph/rabies or 617-983-6800