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Rabies is an acute viral encephalomyelitis caused by members of the lyssavirus genus. The disease may be caused by rabies virus genotype 1 (classical rabies) or less commonly by rabies-related lyssaviruses. The presentations are clinically indistinguishable. Rabies-related lyssaviruses implicated in human disease include European bat lyssaviruses (EBLVs) and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV).
This chapter has been updated in view of the changes to rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure treatment as agreed by the (JCVI) February 2018. These include:
changes in definitions of exposures and animal and country risk
clarification of the groups who should receive rabies pre-exposure immunisation
post-exposure risk assessment including Composite Rabies Risk
reduction in the number of vaccine doses for immunocompetent individuals to 4
change to the recommendations on the use of human rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG)
guidance on the management of immunosuppressed individuals.