5.5.1. What is the difference between pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis?

-  Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) consists of a rabies vaccination course given prior to an exposure and does not include rabies immunoglobulin (RIG). It is given to those at risk of being exposed, for example people working in a rabies vaccine manufacturing facility or in a rabies diagnostic laboratory, veterinarians, and those living in or traveling to regions of the world where rabies is highly endemic or currently epidemic, especially children living at daily risk of exposure.

- Post- exposure Prophlyaxis (PEP) is given after an exposure or suspected exposure to rabies has occurred and should include local treatment of the wound, administration of a rabies vaccination course and (dependent of category of exposure and your individual health status) RIG must be administered.

- A person that has received either complete PrEP or complete PEP previously and is subsequently exposed to rabies does not need to receive RIG, but should receive a booster series of rabies vaccine. The booster series is either: two booster doses of vaccine, one given on day 0 and one on day 3 (either IM or ID), or 4 ID doses administered on day 0. All incomplete vaccinations must be ignored and the exposure must be managed appropriately (full PEP).

PrEP = Pre exposure prophylaxis
PEP = Post-exposure prophylaxis
RIG = Rabies immunoglobulin
IM = Intramuscular
ID = Intradermal

next page: 5.5.2. Who should receive pre-exposure prophylaxis?

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017