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CDC warns of limited supply of rabies vaccine


ATLANTA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that supplies of rabies vaccine in the United States are limited.

The vaccine is being saved for people who have been bitten, as opposed to those who take it to prevent rabies infection before traveling to areas where there is a risk of contracting the disease.

Though the limited supplies don’t constitute a shortage, the CDC has plans to prepare for a shortage. The limit also does not affect vaccines for animals.

The shortfall stems from a stockpiling of the vaccine by Sanofi Pasteur before it started renovating the factory where it makes the vaccine, Imovax, in France. It saved enough of the vaccine to meet the expected demand for the period between the start of the renovations in June 2007 through 2009. However, demand for the vaccine increased unexpectedly when cases of rabies among wild animals increased. At the same time, manufacturing problems arose with Novartis’ RabAvert vaccine. Each company had supplied around half of the rabies vaccine for the United States.

Consequently, the CDC has temporarily stopped recommending preventive rabies vaccinations. In the meantime, the CDC recommends vaccinating pets and taking other precautions to prevent the spread of rabies.

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