An increasing public health problem: Suspected rabies exposures
Keywords:Rabies, rabies suspected exposures, developing countries, Turkey
Introduction: The increasing trend of rabies suspected exposures is a serious public health problem that is challenging the health systems of developing countries both in terms of labor and economics. The purpose of our study is to determine the current state of rabies suspected exposure cases.
Methodology: This descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted by retrospectively examining the applications made due to suspected exposures to a state hospital’s emergency service in Turkey. Descriptive and analytical statistics were used in data analysis and p ≤ 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: Between 2015 and 2019, 3,378 hospital admissions due to suspected exposures were detected (n = 3,378). The number of admissions, which was 558 in 2015, increased every year and reached 829 in 2019 (p < 0.001). Also admissions after contact with cats have increased over the years and have passed contact with dogs in 2019 (p < 0.001). Post-exposure prophylaxis was applied to all cases, but 0.8% (n = 26) of them were found to be inappropriate according to guidelines. It was observed that 38.3% of overall cases examined were individuals aged 19 and under. It was also observed that 69.1% (n = 2,326) of the suspected exposures were caused by owned animals (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The case rates seen in children indicate the need for special studies for children. Applications for suspected exposures due to contact with cats were found to be a growing problem. Therefore, it was concluded that the patterns of rabies suspected exposure cases in Turkey and similar developing countries should be monitored regularly and measures should be taken according to local needs. Besides, stray animals in cities must be minimized and all animals living in cities owned or stray, must be monitored in terms of vaccination.
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