Return to Rabies prevention flowchart introduction
Categories of Animal Exposure
Did an actual exposure occur?
Rabies is transmitted only when the virus is introduced into bite
wounds or open skin wounds or onto mucous membranes. Two general
categories of exposure are recognized:
1. Bite: All bites that penetrate or abrade the epidermis, regardless
of anatomic location, constitute an exposure.
2. NonBite: The contamination of open wounds, abrasions, mucous
membranes, or scratches with saliva or other potentially infectious
material (neural tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, salivary gland tissue)
constitutes an exposure. Because the rabies virus is inactivated by
desiccation and ultraviolet irradiation, in general, if the material
containing the virus is dry, the virus can be considered non-infectious.
It is rare for nonbite exposures to result in rabies. Clinicians are
urged to consult with public health officials before initiating
post-exposure prophylaxis for nonbite exposures.
When you are ready to continue with the algorithm answer the
exposure question by selecting "yes" or "no".
March 18, 2014