Rabies virus antibodies - serum, CSF

Last updated: Sunday, 28, May, 2006

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Item Process
Specimen

10 mL blood or 2 mL CSF in plain tube.

Method

EIA.

Application

Determination of post-vaccination immune status in individuals wishing to live or work in a high risk endemic setting for rabies or who regularly handle or are injured by fruit bats.

No tests are currently available for the diagnosis of rabies or encephalitis due to Australian bat lyssavirus prior to the onset of clinical disease.

Serum antibody testing is seldom useful in supporting a clinical diagnosis of rabies as the disease often progresses to death in too short a time to allow the development of an antibody response.

Interpretation

An antibody level of >0.5 is considered to indicate immunity.

Antibodies can be detected in most patients with clinical rabies within two weeks of onset.

Much higher titres are found in patients with clinical rabies than in immunised subjects.

High CSF antibody titres are seen in clinical rabies, but not after vaccination.

Reference

Smith JS. In: Baer GM ed. The Natural History of Rabies. 2nd ed. CRC Press 1991.