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Human rabies is underreported, but it clearly is still a frequent medical problem that is virtually confined to tropical countries. Rabies encephalitis remains essentially incurable, and most patients die at home, their terrible symptoms unpalliated by sedatives or analgesics. Recent attempts to cure rabies in well-equipped intensive care units have failed, a situation reemphasizing the importance of preventive measures. The great advances that have been made in understanding the rabies virus and the associated improvements in rabies vaccines have had little or no impact in the tropical endemic zone. Most patients who have been exposed to rabies are still given nervous tissue vaccines for postexposure prophylaxis. An urgent priority is the development of a regimen using tissue culture vaccine that is sufficiently economical to replace nervous tissue vaccine. This has been achieved in China with primary hamster kidney cell vaccine.


Journal article


Rev Infect Dis

Publication Date



10 Suppl 4


S726 - S731


Encephalitis, Encephalomyelitis, Humans, Immunization, Passive, Rabies