A Case of a Serum Sickness-Like Reaction After Postexposure Rabies Prophylaxis.

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BACKGROUND: Serum sickness secondary to rabies postexposure prophylaxis is not well documented in the medical literature. Our case describes serum sickness after exposure to human-derived rabies immunoglobulin (HRIG) and three human diploid rabies vaccines (HDCV) in a young adult male.

CASE REPORT: A 30-year-old previously healthy male patient presented to the Emergency Department with complaints of fever, rash, and jaundice, and had a hospital course complicated by biliary stenosis likely secondary to reactive periportal lymphadenopathy. His initial laboratory values demonstrated obstructive jaundice and slightly elevated complement component 4 levels. These symptoms likely are due to the course of HRIG and HDCV vaccines the patient completed after being exposed to a rabies-positive bat in his home. The patient was hospitalized for 8 days, during which he underwent an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with sphincterotomy and biliary stenting. He had one repeat hospitalization for acute blood loss anemia attributed to sphincterotomy, which did not require transfusion or further intervention. Liver biopsy showed cholestatic hepatitis. WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Medical literature describing serum sickness or a serum sickness-like reaction occurring from exposure to HRIG or HDCV is sparse despite the commonality of postexposure rabies prophylaxis in health care. It is important to educate practitioners on this potential complication and highlight next potential consultations and treatments.




Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine Faculty, Department of Emergency Medicine Residents, Toxicology Division, USF-LVHN SELECT Program, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Faculty, USF-LVHN SELECT Program Students

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