Pediatr Emerg Med J.  2020 Jun;7(1):23-27. 10.22470/pemj.2019.00129.

Appropriateness of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis in pediatric patients visiting the emergency department due to animal bite

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea


To study the appropriateness of rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (rPEP) for children with animal bite who visited the emergency department (ED).
The study enrolled children younger than 18 years with animal bite who visited the National Medical Center ED between January 2014 and October 2017. The children’ electronic medical records were retrospectively reviewed. Data for analysis included age, sex, body parts bitten by animals, species of animals, regions where animal bites occurred, history of recent antibiotics therapy and tetanus vaccination, and justification by the 2017 Guidelines for Rabies Control in Korea and implementation of rPEP. In children who underwent unjustified rPEP or did not undergo justified one, we recorded their guardians’ opinion for or against rPEP.
Of the 63 enrolled children, rPEP was justified for 38 children by the Korean guidelines. Of the 38 children, 35 actually underwent rPEP. Among the remaining 3 children, 2 did not undergo the prophylaxis as per the guardians’ requests. Among the 25 children whose rPEP was not justified, 8 underwent the prophylaxis. Of these 8 children, 7 did based on the guardians’ requests.
In this study, inappropriate rPEP was usually affected by the guardians’ requests, regardless of the criteria for such prophylaxis. Thus, their requests for or against rPEP should be discussed with emergency physicians who are aware of the relevant criteria to prevent occurrence of rabies or unnecessary use of medical resources.


Emergency Medicine; Pediatrics; Post-Exposure Prophylaxis; Rabies; Rabies Vaccine
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