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Prevalence of delayed initiation of rabies postexposure prophylaxis and factors influencing it among animal bite victims from Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India


Background: In a rabies-endemic country like India, every animal bite is potentially taken as rabid exposure and timely and appropriate postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) is crucial as rabies is an almost 100% fatal disease.

Methods: A retrospective record-based study was conducted at an anti-rabies clinic (ARC) in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India. Data of the animal bite victims attending the ARC for PEP from January to December 2022 were extracted from the records. A semistructured questionnaire was used for collecting information regarding the interval between exposure and the initiation of anti-rabies PEP, age, gender, residence, the bite site on the body, category of exposure and other risk factors associated with the delay in PEP.

Results: Most of the victims were male (67.6%), from an urban background (61.3%) and aged up to 20 y (43.9%). Out of the 222 victims, 62 (27.9%) had delayed initiation of PEP (>48 h after exposure). Factors found to be significantly associated with delayed initiation of PEP were residence (p=0.01), age (p=0.04) and the type of biting animal (p=0.002).

Conclusions: Delayed initiation of PEP is common among animal bite victims in this region of India, although PEP is affordable. Educational programmes and awareness-raising campaigns for timely administration of PEP should be a priority, especially targeting rural residents, those aged<18 y and those bitten by animals other than dogs.

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Journal Article
Khan IA
Bashar MA
Mohsin S
Shrivastava DK