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Abstract

Background

The risk of contracting rabies is low for travellers. However, the number of Dutch travellers potentially exposed abroad following an animal-associated injury and needing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) has increased, resulting in increased costs.

Aim

Here, we evaluated the costs and the cost-effectiveness of different pre- and post-exposure interventions in the Netherlands, taking into account the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the prevention of rabies.

Methods

A decision tree-based economic model was constructed. We calculated and compared the cost of different WHO pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) recommendations, intramuscular vs intradermal vaccination and PEP subsequent to increased vaccination coverage in risk groups. We estimated cost-effectiveness, expressed as incremental costs per rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) administration averted, using a societal perspective. Statistical uncertainty regarding number of travellers and vaccination coverage was assessed.

Results

Total costs at the national level were highest using previous WHO recommendations from 2012, estimated at EUR 15.4 million annually. Intradermal vaccinations in combination with the current recommendations led to the lowest costs, estimated at EUR 10.3 million. Higher vaccination uptake resulted in higher overall costs. The incremental costs per RIG administration averted varied from EUR 21,300-46,800.

Conclusions

The change in rabies PrEP and PEP recommendations in 2018 reduced total costs. Strategies with increased pre-travel vaccination uptake led to fewer RIG administrations and fewer vaccinations after exposure but also to higher total costs. Although larger scale intradermal administration of rabies vaccine can reduce total costs of PrEP and can positively influence vaccination uptake, it remains a costly intervention.

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/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.38.1900716
2020-09-24
2020-10-27
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.38.1900716
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