WHO reports that 114 rabies deaths occurred in the Americas in 1997, with only four deaths occurring that year in the United States, thus emphasizing the importance of good animal control practice and postexposure prophylaxis.
Post-exposure prophylaxis should be considered following any contact between a child and a bat, even if there is no evidence of a bite or scratch, since the child may be unaware of the contact and marks may not be apparent.
In the case of rabies, postexposure prophylaxis involves a series of vaccines given to an individual who has been bitten by an unknown animal or one that is potentially infected with the rabies virus.
The CDC also recommended updated prophylaxis regimens for women with penicillin allergies, as well as other guidelines for patients with threatened preterm deliveries and other recommendations.
When a child is bitten by a healthy domestic dog, cat, or ferret, the animal is usually confined for 10 days and observed for signs of rabies prior to initiating post-exposure prophylaxis.